Sunday, April 30, 2006

Procession of Species Parade

Yesterday we met our friends in downtown Olympia to watch the
Procession Parade. A brief description from the official site states:

There are just three Procession rules
The three rules inspire, nourish, and protect the Procession's cultural evolution of imagination, creation, and sharing.
No written words • No pets • No motorized vehicles

And in a nutshell...
Created by the community for the community the Procession of the Species Celebration is a joyous, artistic pageant, embracing the languages of art, music and dance to inspire learning, appreciation and protection of the natural world. The intent of the Procession is to elevate the dignity of the human spirit by enhancing the cultural exchange that we have with each other and with the natural world..Andnd to do that through imagination, creation, and sharing.

What exactly does that mean? It means that people used recycled items to create wonderful costumes and props to celebrate all kinds of animals. Some examples were lions, sea turtles, jellyfish (an umbrella with strings hanging from the edge), dolphins and even bees and wasps. There was music and dancing as well. The best moment was the volcano. A group of adults holding cardboard placards painted red and grey to look like rocks would huddle in a circle and shake their placards. A couple of others would bang some drums to make an earthquake type sound and then the adults would raise the placards up high and a group of red dressed kids would run out and scream. Just like lava. It was really clever and well done.

It was really fun, the weather decided to do a 180 and allow the sun to come out and be perfectly comfortable during the one hour parade. Sometimes things just work out.

We'll hopefully have some photos up on Flickr soon.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Times Are A Changin'

The last few months have really been crazy. I know that this is a totally relative term, one persons crazy month is another persons vacation. However, I am confident that once you read on you will agree.

Back in November, the 28th to be exact, I got a call from my manager at Washington Mutual where I had been contracting for the previous 9 months. He told me that the upper management had made the decision that all contractors were being released effective at the end of the month. Having just come off the Thanksgiving holiday I was confused and thought that I had a couple of weeks left. No, that would be two days left of work. Nice. Happy holidays everyone. While I felt bad for myself and was a little depressed since I liked the job and some of the people I worked with were great, I really had to feel bad for a couple of the other contractors, some of whom had moved to the area for the gig and had been there a much shorter amount of time.

So two days later I was unemployed again. I took the month of December off so that we could concentrate on the holidays and then resume my search. For the last couple of years we have wanted to live in the Olympia area. The community has a lot to offer us, a homeschooling community, a fair amount of natural markets/resources as well as some friends of Christy's. The difficultly is that Olympia is in Washington, which is the land of Microsoft. Being an Oracle guy in a Microsoft centric area is like being a house fly at a spider web conference - its bleak. At the end of February I finally got an interview with an Olympia Oracle shop in the Department of Ecology. I went to the interview, which turned out to be a group interview, and it was horrible. I would say it was the second worst interview I have ever had. I was pretty sad afterwards. But the interview day had a lot left to it as we had a pediatric neurologist appointment to attend.

You see, a couple of weeks before the interview, on Christy's birthday, Ainsley had two seizures. Out of the blue, no warning, no previous experiences. It was a real shock. We spent Christy's birthday in the ER getting a battery of test done to prove that it was nothing serious. Everything came back but we still had to confer with the neurologist for a follow-up. It was a very scary event. Despite the doctor using terms like "ticking time bomb" we opted to stop further testing and followed our parental gut instincts and know that it was a fluke.

Anyways, the next day we learned that Christy was pregnant. Talk about a suprise! This put the shock of the seizure in distant second on the list of 2006 surprises. Yikes! Since everything happens for a reason I got a job offer from Ecology the next day, just two days after the horrible interview. Mmmmm insurance. Whew...

So we made an appointment for an ultrasound so that we could determine when the baby would be born (and conversely when it was conceived). The technician was talking to Ainsley asking her if she was excited about being a big sister...of two babies? What? Two babies? I looked up at the monitor and very obvisously displayed were two little babies. The room grew suddenly hot. Very hot. I began sweating and technician asked if I was ok. She then left to get me some cold water. I needed a seat. How could this happen, I mean don't you need to have twins in the family or have friends that are twins are something. I mean really, how does this sort of thing happen? Jesh. The appointment finally comes to an end and we learn that the babies are due October 23rd. Alrighty then.

We eventually make our way to the...lobby. We couldn't go any further without sitting down and making some phone calls. They all pretty much went like this:
Us: Hello
Them: Hi
Us: We found out the due date
Them: Great, when is it?
Us: October 23rd
Them: That's terrific...a halloween baby
Us: Oh yeah, and it's twins
Us: Hello, are you still there
Us: hello...?
Them: (breathing)
Them: Are you serious?
Us: Totally..

The pause varied from person to person but it generally lasted about two hours or so, maybe less but that is what it seemed like. While I didn't think it was possible, everyone seemed to be more excited about having two babies than the one. Which is nice because I think more than ever we are going to need all the support we can get. A good supportive family is really a special gift and we appreciate all of them. Over the years they have supported us in a lot of different ways (help building a deck, installing new windows, baby sitting so we can go to a movie, cheap rent) and I am thankful for all of it.

Years ago my friend Howard and I were having a conversation regarding life changes. He mentioned that there are really three major life changes: moving, new job, new baby - and you should never do more than one of these in a single year. It is too much. Well we have violated two of these rules already and are attempting to violate the third as I write. We are trying to locate a new house in the Olympia area to complete our transition and fulfill our desttiny. Alright, a small over statement. I think we are actually adding a new branch to the rule as we are also trying to buy a new car...a minivan.

After the news of the two babies sank in (not that it really has fully) we started to think about what this really meant. Neither of our current cars will fit three carseats - in fact we don't even own enough carseats. We are in the evaluation process and have so far determined that we want/need an eight passenger model. This really narrows down the field. So we are looking at the Sienna and the Odyssey. Both of them have things we like and things we don't. I would like to piece the two together. Obviously that isn't an option.

So as you can see, things are really changing for us. All of it is good is just trying to keep up that is the toughest part.

All Set

A few years ago I had an epiphany of sorts, it was more of a self discovery. I was lying in bed and realized that for a large portion of my life I had been setting myself up for disappointment. I would think that if something were different then I would be all set. I think it really started at the end of college. I would think "man if I made as much as that guy I would be all set" or "once we move we'll be all set","when I start this job we'll be good to go". The problem is that it is never true. If I could lose 20 pounds I would be in good shape.

Life goes on and eventually you make the same as that other guy and you find yourself in the same situation as when you made less. You don't have more money in the bank, you have just found more ways to spend the "extra". Eventually you realize that you are making more and things are not as cushy as you thought they would be. Maybe you even lose that 20 pounds and then realize you aren't happy there either. All of this leads to major disappointment. I then thought that if I just stopped thinking that one thing was going to make all the difference, that if I stopped hinging my happiness on this one thing (whatever it be), that I would no longer suffer this disappointment. If I would stop saying "if this or that then we'll be all set", then I would be better off.

I bet a lot of people, if they stopped to think about it, would find themselves using the all set theory. It is such a viscous cycle because you are never living in the moment, never allowing yourself to be happy in the present. It's not to say you shouldn't have goals, I'm saying you shouldn't postpone your happiness until the goals are met. You shouldn't suspend today's enjoyment for tomorrows hope.

After coming to this realization I caught myself more times than I can count implementing this all set mentality. It is a very hard practice to break and still to this day I catch myself doing it. The irony is, once I thought of the theory I thought I was all set...