Life Update OH, MAY / OH MY

5.17.17

1. Still feeling positive about the recent U2 and Mumford and Sons concert at the Century Link stadium in Seattle. A sold-out event that had a long evening of high points music-wise and strong political message to inspire people to action in these crazy times. And it was fun walking around on the streets after midnight wondering the best way to get home after the Light Rail train had stopped running for the day. The concert got good reviews as well. These things are expensive but level of fun and excitement make it worth it.

2. My daughter has been looking for a house and she and her significant other have kept getting outdid in the fast-paced, cutthroat real estate market out here. Richer people than they come rolling in with wads of cash and you come up empty. It’s been a series of disappointments as you get your hopes up on a place and then you get beat out. Am pleased to announce that it finally appears they will have won in a competition for a two-bedroom townhouse… one bathroom, a little over a thousand sq ft (about 100 more sq ft than our apt.) with a reserved space in a parking lot, two stories, completely renovated in nice location not far from downtown and their jobs. Because of traffic  the commute  is  a governing factor  on choosing where to live.  That and cost. For sale at 399K And it will ‘only’ come out to be about $450K!!!! Because no house goes for the  listed price. That said, they will be paying about the same or even a little more than what they did in rent, and will be building equity.  Value accrues here amazingly quickly because of the high demand for property so it will prove a real investment for them. Here is link with photos. Click on first photo.

https://m.trulia.com/property/3001693395-116-17th-Ave-D-Seattle-WA-98122

3. Still greatly content with our living space and the city in which we’re living. Both have everything we need and whatever ‘extra’ we can want is 25 minutes to the north. Just hold off on the earthquakes, Tsunami, and North Korea nuclear missile on our roof. This location…lots of nature around while still being centrally located with easy access to everything.

4. As I’m writing this I am getting the good news (I think) of special counsel, Robert Mueller, a straight shooter,  being appointed to look into the Trump mess. I’m hoping he just gets the facts and finally moves on shining a light on any corruption or shenanigans that have been perpetrated by this inept leader.

5. Have worked a second,day in same high school. It went well. I substituted for business class (using WORD). I don’t want to do this more than ONE day per week — otherwise it ‘cramps my style’ and gets in way of other plans. I don’t want it to become a grind or anything. I’m still looking for the ‘right’ high school… so that the experience is as enjoyable as possible. While both days have gone well the second day was better because the teacher had left more work so that the students time was filled with activity and did not become glorified babysitting.

A word or two about the kids that I have encountered on my two situations. I realize that I’m at a disadvantage because I am a substitute teacher without a lot of knowledge of the students, what has been done in the class that year, how the teacher runs the class, technological and operational particulars of the school,but what I had noticed about the students is this:

–Highly diverse group of students in terms of ethnic origin… almost no white kids and a few more African Americans. After that it’s mainly kids from other places: different regions of Africa, Arab countries,  all the Asian countries, Eastern Europeans, etc. Many have a second language or more being spoken in the home.

–All have smartphones to which they are joined by their digits and eyes and minds. They were respectful and gave me no trouble, but they are not especially communicative.  Of course, I took steps to control the electronics.

–The one biggest difference I saw between my experience at Fairview High School was how nonresponsive they were to oral communication. I can only imagine that this is probably a problem in the written language as well. I would ask a question and some would look at me (or not, but there would be no response. I would have to stop the ‘show’ and make a shhhushing sound to call attention to the fact that a question was on the floor… to start to get them to come through with a response. What is that and it seems so weird and discourteous. Was it just rudeness or something bigger than that? As a lover of language in all its forms, I worry about our youth becoming less interested in it and not appreciating its beauty and high usefulness.  All communication is being reduced to bare minimums. Does it have to do with attention span, and if so, how can concentration increase if you keep catering to shorter and shorter times? I wouldn’t think so.

6.  I have been updating passwords to improve security, especially on all of my financial accounts because of a rash of hacking in the world and the advice of experts is to change them at least every 3 months and preferably monthly!!! A lot of people do not use very secure passwords and never change them. Not a good idea. I understand how doing so is a pain in the neck. I have a password app on my phone to save all my usernames and passwords which helps. There are hundreds. I couldn’t survive without this app.

7. What I’m watching:

Season 1 of Netflix BLOODLINE. Big time slow life Florida vibe (oppressive heat, scenery, bare feet, breezes, water sports, crime and secrets), and high caliber actors, including playwright Sam Shephard, Kyle Chandler (of Friday Night Lights came), and Sissy Spacek, among others.

Also on TV…often in background while doing other stuff…MSNBC and CNN…with all the crackling national and world news that keeps us on edge.  And often one of the things I’m doing at the same time is following all of the Twitter feeds about what’s going on. I could pass any quiz you would give me on current events, let’s put it that way.

Seattle’s high quality film festival will start soon… excited by all the creativity that will blow into town. I have a few things lined up for other TV series to follow in weeks to come.

What I’m reading:

Poetry by different writers.

Latest novel… SHARP OBJECTS by Gillian Flynn.

Many nice literary touches. Lots of pains and secrets and anger among humans. Interested in the film version of the book that is in the works.

5.26.17

What happened?…the days got away. I’m going to put this out as a long blog covering the past week or two.

I am back at Renton High School substituting for a history teacher. A good day if honors groups. I went into the office …the staffperson taps finger on the counter letting me know the key is there …two people working… neither one says good morning or boo. A very cold approach…don’t make you feel welcome at all. Just go do your work and go home I guess is their attitude. I had reached out yesterday to a few Spanish teachers at all three high school’s letting them know something about my background and of my desire to sub for them if they were going to be out before the end of the year which goes later into June here. I was able to meet two of them today and give them a demonstration of my fluency. They are both friendly and outgoing. No surprise that they’re different.  I even met the teacher I’m subbing for. She stayed in the building today for meetings. Not even a thank you from her. Just gave me a lament about the long day facing her in the library.  It might be warm today in this HS because no air conditioning. Supposed to reach 78. It brings back memories of all the air temp issues we would have at Fairview over the years and the staff and faculty members would be rightfully peeved…and I always had to plead with maintenance crew to do something about it. I don’t miss that bit of fun in my life.

Speaking of fun, last weekend  we went out with daughter on waterfront and took a cruise of the city very informative. Good way to pass time with family.

Ate in Mexican restaurant and walked on Alki Beach in lovely West Seattle. Perfect day.

I was contacted by a writer for CNN online who had seen one of my tweets about the day that Trump brought all of the Republican Congressman up to the White House steps after their vote on the disastrous Health bill. I had tweeted that it was way too many white guys in one place. My point had been that in my experience in the world diversity had enriched my life… people from other cultures and races and nations added a great deal to the mix of any group, bringing new ways to think about things and making me more tolerant and a broader thinker. Anyway he used my quote as the title for his piece and somehow I am now getting tweets like these below. I’m shrugging them off, but there are a lot of people out there like this in our country and it concerns me. They get all worked up and their hatred is fierce. They often have trouble controlling their urges to harm those who are not like them.

Why do you hate your race? That we built the modern world? Landed men on the moon? Harnessed electricity? F@$! you.

–You are not white. Don’t ever describe yourself as white, your card is pulled. You are a disgrace to any human of any race. You are generic.”

–You self-loathing coward, ashamed of your own existence. Maybe you are racked with white guilt but Blake is Right Tweeting you out of mockery.

In downtime while subbing today and when students are working, I read through sections of “Hillbilly Elegy” by JD Vance. I was familiar with him, but hadn’t read his work yet. (I mainly read fiction and magazine articles.) I’d seen him on TV though throughout the last presidential campaign as he would try to explain the Trump fanatics in Middle America. His people were from Appalachia. I’m less patient and empathetic with them when I see the great harm being done as a result of how the election went. Interestingly enough he moved from the hills of Appalachia to the hills of San Francisco. A very different part of our country in every way.

And I’m disappointed by the Montana election. I’m a firm believer /admirer of a free press and reporters are essential for our liberty. They should not be physically attacked for doing their job and those who would do so do not deserve to take a seat in our government. Period.

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