Monday, April 28, 2008

CVN 68

A documentary, "Carrier," is being shown on PBS this week. It follows the USS Nimitz during her 2005 west-Pac deployment. Take away 9 years, email, and skew the male:female ratio, and you've got a picture of 3 years of my life. I just watched a half hour and I'm hooked. Not only are they on my first ship, they spend a lot of time with AO's in weapons department (my first div-O job) and they even have a last-minute detour to the North China Sea, which is what happened on my '96 deployment.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

And Now Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming Spring Weather

Saturday we had an absolute gift of a day: temps that reached the upper 70's, blue skies, almost no clouds, and it was on a Saturday. Jeff and I went on a longish bike ride - the loop around the north end of Lake Washington that includes some East Side climbs - just under 50 miles. The parks, trails, and roads were packed; just about everyone wanted to be on a bike, trail, or as near as the water as possible. It felt so much like summer, I felt like I had to keep pinching myself, unsure of whether I should be reminding myself that it would be back to 40's and rain the next day. I made iced tea, we opened all the windows, and basked in the summer temps.

Sunday morning, it was still pretty warm as we packed up to go to the Mount Si Relay race. Jeff had joined a group of his fellow Get Fit with Fido animal shelter volunteers to do the ultramarathon team event (57 miles, 5 runners, 2 legs each) and at the last minute I subbed in for a team member who had come down with bronchitis. The weather warmed up through the morning, the sun shone, and just when it was starting to get too warm, it started clouding up and cooling off again. It made for perfect running weather. We all had a terrific time and did really well, coming in 2nd in our division. Jeff and I both ran much faster than we had expected, and are still hobbling around 3 days later. One of the team members took some terrific photos, which can be seen here.

By the time we got into the van and headed home (~ 4:30), the rain started to fall. It was full-on Seattle April drizzle by the time we got home, our brief summer weekend dissolving back into spring, with sore muscles and patches of sunburn to remind us of the heat.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Average Stay is 72 Hours, Not 6 Months...

Yesterday, I went to jail.

Have I mentioned how awesome my job is? Last Friday afternoon, I toured around King County parks in White Center and the East Side. Yesterday, I toured the King County jail in downtown Seattle. Were you not aware that we have a jail just a few short blocks from the Columbia Tower, Nordstrom's, and Pike Place Market? Well, we do.

I toured with several others from my office. When we returned to the office, we all marched into the ladies room, washed our hands, and compared notes (funny coincidence that all of the criminal justice budget analysts in the office are women). Some people were depressed; it is difficult to see those who are not capable of living safely and crime-free in our society. Mental illness and/or chemical dependency is a huge issue for our criminal justice system. Others may have felt a bit threatened: a tour of half a dozen young women through the jail raises the attention of the mostly male inmates, in less than polite and complimentary ways.

I left encouraged and impressed. The staff was very professional. Care has obviously been taken to balance guard and prisoner security, freedoms, and efficiency, not an easy thing to do. I also was taken dramatically back to my days in the Navy. The institutions seem to share more similarities than differences. There are certain ways one develops structure to manage a large number of people from different backgrounds and capacities in a stressful and crowded environment. The uniforms looked the same, the gally kitchen operated in the same way, the attention to cleanliness and order were the same, and the differentiation based on role and rank were the same.

Fundamentally, however, I'd rather see those who cannot function independently in society in this institution where they are safe, fed, medicated, and cared for, than out on the streets, huddled in sleeping bags in parks, strung out and on the bus, or clustered in the streets of Pioneer Square.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

And My Cat is Named Eowyn

I just realized that I've referenced LOTR (specifically Gandalf) in the last two posts. I recently made a technical reference to Battlestar Galactica in a meeting. In my defense, science fiction was not the point of the last two posts, and the meeting was about radio and emergency management (so the BG reference was extremely relevant).

My name is Tricia and I am a Geek.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

As the Flag Waves on our Front Porch

I attended the first half of the 36th District Democratic Caucus today - the second tier of WA's caucus system. I was an alternate delegate; it took about 3 hours of standing on line and waiting to find out that I wasn't needed as a delegate, but I think it was time well spent. Just about every elected (or wanna-be-elected) local democrat showed up to give a brief stump speech and get folks fired up for November. It worked. I'm starting to plan my October trip to Ohio. Maybe not, but it certainly inspired me to get more involved in local issues. And there was a surprise celebrity who spoke on behalf of Senator Clinton who made it worth getting up a little early on a Saturday morning.

Unfortunately, the Obama campaign wasn't able to get Gandalf.