Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Nah nah nah nah hey hey...goooood bye!

Today is the last day I am riding the bus. I am out of passes, so rather than spend the money, I am just going to drive the next two days.

I am sad that I will not be riding the Triangle Transit buses regularly anymore. I will miss my bus drivers and the wacky passengers that have become a beloved part of my routine. I will continue to ride the bus around town but it will not be the same.

Today I am wearing a short denim skirt under which my knee brace is quite visible. Amy Number One was chatting with me this morning, asking if I ate yogurt last Tuesday. She noticed the brace on my knee and asked me what it was. I told her I had to wear it because I got hurt. She wanted to know when it would get better. I told after I had surgery next week. She looked positively terrified, to which I responded with, "it's okay. It is very easy to fix and I will be back on my feet in no time." We talked more and she wanted to know if I would be there on Friday. I finally told her that today was the last day I would be riding the bus. She looked very sad. I told her I would miss her very much. She asked me if I would be here next week. I again explained I would not. I told her why. In retrospect, I should have told her I am going back to school rather than my job is ending. She was quiet for a moment and then said, "I am sad because I am going to miss you, Meg." She asked me if I would come back and visit. I just might do that.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Chapel Hill bus driver pleads no contest

On November 4, 2008 I posted links to two stories from the local news about a fatal bus accident in Chapel Hill. A bus hit a pedestrian, Valerie Hughes, who died the following day. In the second story, this was reported:

"According to police records, the Chapel Hill Police Department has investigated 10 wrecks since 2001 – not including last week's – in which Orr was involved. He was at fault in most of the wrecks. Nine of them were in a town vehicle."

In today's story linked below, he was given a 45 day suspended sentence, 100 hours of community service, loses his license for a year, and may be required to speak about his experience. Are you kidding me? Nine wrecks in government vehicles, most of which were his fault, he kills someone, and that's it? Two and a half weeks of washing police cars and he might have to talk about it? Damn. Maybe I'm just being harsh, maybe it's because I've been hit so many times, but that doesn't seem like justice to me.

Chapel Hill bus driver was sentenced

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Art On The Move

I am beginning to realize, with a great deal of surprise, that Raleigh and the Greater Triangle area is a good place for artists. Real, honest to goodness, working artists. I still have trouble seeing this area (and North Carolina as a whole) as anything other than a hick town, small, conservative, small minded. In recent years, I have come to see that it is possible to be an artist here and actually make a living. Now that might entail teaching classes on the side, but that's still art, right? For example, we have First Friday. All of the galleries and museums stay open a little later, offer wine and crackers, hire live music and Downtown Raleigh turns into a big ol' party even on the coldest of nights. First Friday is remarkably kid-friendly too!

We also have loads of local businesses that show artwork. These could be restaurants, coffee shops, you name it. We have a number of artist's collective studio spaces, like Artspace and Antfarm Studios. There was the Red Wolf Ramble, which was a collection of wolf statues all over town, painted by local artists. The NC State mascot is the wolf, for those who don't know.

We also have Art On The Move. The city art's commission and CAT choose twelve original designs by local artists to decorate the sides of twelve CAT buses for six months. I'm happy to say that two of my favorite local artists have been chosen, Anna Podris and Paul Friedrich. I know Anna has had a design on a bus previously, and would take a stab that Paul has too since he's so well known. A big congratualtions to all of the artists! I will do my best to get to Artsplosure to photograph the unveiling of the new buses on May 16th.

Art On The Move

Paul Friedrich's Etsy Shop

Anna Podris's website (I love her owls! I've only gotten to meet her once and she's fabulous!)

Keith Norval (Anna's husband. I took his printmaking class. I love this guy.)

Okay, I have to add this one too. Blue Owl, an encaustic painting by Anna. It's even more spectacular in person. I love this one with all my heart and hope someone will buy it for me someday.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A brief aside, knitting related sad news.

I don't know if there are any knitters who read this blog. If so, please pop on over to Mason Dixon Knitting to pay your respects to dear Kay who's husband, Peter, passed away on Saturday. If you're read the book or the blog, you know how wonderful those women are and how their warm chatty writing style makes them feel like your cool knitter aunts.

Mason Dixon Knitting

Sunday, April 19, 2009

How funny are we?

I had dinner with my friend, E, on Thursday night. Since we were going down to Jibarra in the warehouse district, I took the R Line. The ride down was uneventful. The ride home, however, was quite something else.

I get on the bus and sit down. Innocent enough. Two guys come running over and jump on the bus. They are the stereotypical North Raleigh, or Cary, suburbia kind of folks that give me hives. They are joking that the bus driver should close the doors and drive off. What seemed like an hour later, their women get on the bus. One couple was married, one was not and they were going bar hooping that night. Because they're cool like that. The girlfriend (who looked about 10 years younger than her boyfriend) is talking about some guy in her office who uses her Kleenex to blow his nose. She is trying very unsuccessfully to mimic in both noise and gesture an elephant honking his trunk. She was so stupid, it was painful to listen to her. Then, her boyfriend and the wife of the other couple begin making fun of her. They were obviously making fun of how stupid she was, but naturally she completely missed it. At first, I'm looking at the guy and thinking, "do you really want to deal with this for the rest of your life?" and then when he opened his mouth, I was quietly asking her the same thing. I believe they are truly meant for each other and a couple good divorce lawyers. At one point the wife turns to the husband and says, "how funny are we? We're riding a bus!" Yeah, seriously, you crack me up. Then the married couple starts wigging out about the babysitter with the crazy strict parents. The discussion turns to who should go home and relieve Brittney of her duties and who should continue to par-tay with the stupid girl and her boyfriend. The husband lost. Wife went to get her crunk on and hubby stayed on the bus. These are super classy folks.

One stop later, three black folks get on the bus. Each of them are carrying a few bags. The two guys hop on the easily and head to the back. The woman gets on with some difficulty and sits across from me and Husband who was a couple seats over. It was crystal clear that she was high as a kite. Higher, if possible. She was with the guys, but didn't sit with them. She announces to the bus that she was released from federal prison two hours ago and that she served five years. She also says she's headed back to New Jersey, where she's from. Husband engages her in conversation. He asks her if she's happy to be out. If you guessed she said "yes" then you guessed correctly. He's asking her lots of questions that, frankly, aren't any of his damn business, such as, how did she end up in a federal prison here if she's from New Jersey and some such questions. I don't remember the entire conversation word for word because I was busy not making eye contact.

Husband then says to Ex-Con, are you ready for this?....
"But you have to admit that it's nice down here, right?" To which she replies, "I AIN'T GOT TO ADMIT SHIT. OKAY? I AIN'T GOT TO ADMIT GODDAMN SHIT." Yes, she was shouting. Husband then backpedals a little with this zingy comeback, "But I mean like the weather. It's a lot nicer than it is in New Jersey, right?" Never before have I thought I was going to be shanked on a bus. The bus driver chimes in and tells her to watch her language. She apologized and calmed down, thankfully. Seriously, she's so high, she can barely speak. While I am busy not making eye contact and trying to keep an eye out for any flying shivs, I am thinking about how inappropriate it is for Husband to ask this woman if she thinks it nicer here than NJ. I mean, chances are good that she's only been here while in federal prison, which means that she's spent nearly all of her time confined to a tiny cell, eating horrible food, being told when to pee, and maybe, just maybe getting an hour a day outside. She could have been anywhere.

The saga continues when Husband, who has never been on the R Line before, tries to tell Ex-Con where to get off to go to the Greyhound station. He was off by three stops. So glad I wasn't around for that one. As she was leaving, she almost forgot one of her bags. I told her, she picked it up and shook my hand and Husband's and god blessed us. With any luck she's back in New Jersey right now.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The S Word

I mentioned in my last post that I'm having knee surgery. Many of you have sent warm, kind and concerned thoughts which are so much appreciated. I thought I'd take a second and give you the 411. "That means information, people." (Any Monk fans in the house?)

At the end of January, I slipped and fell on a rubber mat that was turned upside down. Luckily, this happened at work. This means I don't have to pay for anything and I'll ultimately get reimbursed for my time. It also means this whole process has been dragged out 17 times longer than if I had to pay for this. All I'll say about that is...if you have to get hurt at work, don't do it in North Carolina.

It turns out that when I fell I tore my medial meniscus. I've had ice, compression, heat, NSAIDS, a cortisone injection, yoga, physical therapy, x-rays, an MRI and a glucosamine/condrointon supplement (when I can remember to take it). You name it, I've tried it. No dice. Nothing has worked. I'm still in a lot of pain, can't walk far, biking and running are out of the question, and I'm still wearing a knee brace. Without the brace, I feel things moving in ways most unnatural.

At my last doctor's appointment, it was decided that surgery was the next step. It will be arthroscopic surgery and should take about 20 minutes or so. They will go in and look around, take pictures and cut out the torn piece of cartilage. I'll be laid up for a few days and on crutches for a few more. They expect me to be as good as new in 4-5 months. Sadly, my hopes of a robotic knee transplant have been crushed. Perhaps next time. I do however get souvenir photos of the inside of my knee, which is a nice touch. I wonder if they do t-shirts too? "I went to Blue Ridge Surgical Center and all I got was this lousy t-shirt."

The surgery is scheduled for May 7. My mom will come stay for a few days. It will then be up to Elvis to care for me. I have three weeks to teach him how to open the fridge and turn on the oven. If that fails, I am certain a few friends will come over to feed me if absolutely necessary.

I appreciate the well wishes. I assure you I will be fine. My 89 year old grandmother always says, "you just don't die as easily as you think you do." In the past 9 years, she's had breast cancer and mastectomy, a broken hip and replacement, an exploding gall bladder, and recently 5 staples in the back of her noggin from a fall. She's never been in the hospital for more than 3 weeks. So, I think she'd know.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

So good, I had to post it twice.

I work with a girl, T., she about 28 or 29. As a coworker, she's merely okay, but as a person, she is a very sweet, soft spoken girl. She has a son, J., who is about 10 or 11. If I have extra goodies, I'll give them to her to pass on to J. because I know he'll eat them. I also do it because T. doesn't cook or bake and really, every kid needs a freshly baked cookie every now and again. I've also passed on goodies that neither she nor he have tried before and have yet to find something that they don't like. I think the last thing I shared with them was red velvet cupcakes. I've only met J. once or twice in the past. He's a super cute, super sweet kid. T is doing an amazing job as a single mother and I have no doubt that J will turn into a fine man someday.

Two mornings ago, T comes up to me and tells me that her son has just learned how to make those slice and bake Toll House cookies and he's going to make some for me. Yesterday, she tells me that J wants me to know that he didn't make the cookies the night before because he had to watch the wrestling draft and he hoped I would understand. I told her to tell him I would have done the same thing. This morning when I got to work, T hands me a little plastic baggie with 4 chocolate chip cookies. I almost cried. Seriously. He made me cookies because I am always sending things home for him.

I was late this morning because I had a doctor's appointment. I found out that I have to have knee surgery in a week or two. Getting cookies that J baked especially for me made my day!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Mobile TV on the R line

WRAL, Raleigh partner on nation's first mobile DTV venture.

“Once again, Raleigh is unveiling a technology first,” Mayor Charles Meeker said in a statement. “We are proud to be the pilot to offer mobile digital television to the riders of the Downtown Circulator.

“We salute WRAL for being pioneers in mobile digital television as they were in high definition television,” Meeker said. “We look forward to the day when all of Raleigh’s CAT buses will offer this means of information and relaxation. It’s just another reason to take a CAT bus wherever you go.”

I like Mayor Meeker. I really do. He just announced he's running for reelection, for a fifth two year term. I think he's done a great job in this city in the revitilization of Downtown, in improving public transportation, dealing with the crazy drought we had last year, and recognizing that perhaps Raleigh is growing too fast. I will proudly vote for him for another term.

I have mixed feelings about bringing television into the buses. On one hand, I think it's great bringing information to a certain bus riding population that might not be otherwise exposed to this kind of news. On the other hand, my daily commute to RTP is great when it's silent. In the morning, I don't want to hear a lot of chatter and more often than not, and with the exception of Amy Number One wanting to know if I have my notebook and a pencil, the bus is quiet.

I was also hoping that the R Line would use the monitors to announce the next stop since it can be a little hard to tell where you are, especially at night. I guess I'll have to take a spin and see what's its all about before I make up my mind.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Reply hazy. Try again.

Every so often I see this guy in the morning. He looks like he's maybe 40-ish. He's pretty big, not in the chubby sense, but he's tall and has a big frame. He occasionally picks up my second bus in the mornings. He uses a cane, well, in theory he uses a cane. I've only seen him carry it because he has a bike with him. The bike is a BMX bike, like the one my 10th grade boyfriend had. Most of this is borderline odd....I think you'd have to see a picture. What tips this into the "weirdo" category is his choice of helmet. Now, most people choose to wear, say, a bike helmet. Not this guy. The last time I saw him he was wearing a hockey helmet. A full on hockey goalie helmet with the wire face mask. This morning, he chose a different helmet. A batting helmet. Fer reals, people. Could I make this up? A batting helmet, covering one ear. I'm waiting for him to bust out with the football helmet one of these days.

There was a terribly attractive Indian guy at my bus stop this morning. He was a little confused as to where he should go and when he should get there, so I was more than happy to oblige. We chatted a bit. He was very nice. As (someone else's-not mine) luck would have it, he was waiting for the bus this afternoon too. He thanked me again for helping him. We chatted some more. He was seriously cute. No moustache too! My Magic 8 Ball very quickly told me that I will see him again, however it's being quite vague on exactly how many children we'll have. I can't believe my Magic 8 Ball would leave me hanging.

Oh, I almost forgot. I saw Ma this afternoon also. She gave me a big giant hello and a fistful of Thai melon candy. I ate one to be see, I hate melon. This was really good! She complimented the baby sweater I'm knitting for my cousin Stacey with a big thumbs up. I swear she is just as cute as a button. She also told me she's from Thailand when I asked her abut the candy. Interesting. The plot thickens.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Today's Horoscope for Libra

"You know your own shortcomings better than anyone else, but this doesn't mean you want to hear about them from an associate at work or a family member at home. There's no need for you to be reminded about your failures, especially when you are working hard to remedy them. If you are the recipient of unsolicited advice now, just smile and say "thanks," because a discussion could quickly turn into an unproductive argument."

You have no idea.

Pinus taeda, or my nemesis Pine Pollen

Pinus taeda, or the Loblolly pine, is a tall, skinny pine tree native to the coastal Southeastern United States. It is known for growing quickly, stopping erosion, producing a fine timber, and, every year around this time, blanketing the entire Southeast in a fine yellowish green dusty pollen. Yes, ladies and gentleman, it's Pollen Season and it's disgusting.


That's the pollen floating on top of a puddle on the sidewalk.

All over the bench.

Seriously, this shiznit gets everywhere. You wash your car and an hour later, it's covered. It sticks to bushes, sidewalks, windows, anything. Almost everyone who was not born into a family who's been in the South for at least 12 generations is allergic to it. Like me. I have lived in the South for 17 years now and every year during pollen season I feel like I have a horrible cold for weeks on end. Forget opening my windows, because it'll come in through the screen and blanket my living room. A few years ago, in my old apartment, I had a backyard. My cat Truman got out while I was watering plants and started to roll around on the stoop. When he stood up, he was that evil greenish color, covered in pollen. We immediately went inside and gave him a good, long scrubbing. I was home yesterday in the morning and felt fine. I went to the grocery store by bus. By the time I got to the shopping center with the Kroger, my eyes were watery, I was super sneezy, and my throat was scratchy. Only last year with the wicked drought were my allergies not so bad.

I am going to stay inside until June, leaving only so long as I'm wearing one of those Hazmat suits with it's own air system.

If you lived in North Carolina, you'd understand.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Ha ha, joke's on you. And by you, I mean me.

I hate the first day of April. I hate it more than Friday the Thirteenth, which historically speaking, is always a good day for me. April Fool's Day just sucks. First of all, I hate practical jokes with all my heart. I am certain this comes from being the freak in school that was always picked on and/or made to look/feel like a loser. I hate practical jokes. They serve only to embarrass or humiliate the butt of said joke. Practical jokes are mean.

My day starts with the bus I wanted not showing up. The next bus was late, as usual. Once it pulled into the platform, and before anyone could get off the bus, the dispatcher began releasing all of the waiting buses. I had to run to catch my bus. Did I mention I had torn cartilage in my knee? I get to work and immediately start icing it down. Then my physical therapist (for the knee) calls wanting to know why I'm not there. I tell her because my appointment is tomorrow. She advises me that no, indeed it is this morning. Luckily she can fit me in tomorrow, when I thought I was supposed to be there. Then The Perfume Ladies (a/k/a our field HR folks) showed up. They all wear way too much perfume and invariably give me a headache. They gave me a headache. The day spiraled rapidly downward from there and did not resurface until I picked up some Chinese food after work. Later, Elvis entertained me by getting a Kleenex box stuck on his head. I appreciated his kind gesture.

And now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to Humble Pie to wish a friend bon voyage on his latest month long trip to China.

And now for something completely different...
By the way, the Jimmy Dean commercials make me infinitely happy. My readers outside the US (or the South for that matter) may not be familiar with them. Poke around on the web for them. The star of the ad campaign is a guy dressed up like the Sun. He works in an office with a giant window and his coworkers are the Moon, Fog, Cloud, Rainbow, etc. Here's another one. Seriously, they crack me up. (What? Stop looking at me like that!)

*****Just to add insult to injury, I found out I had two very flat bike tires as I was heading to meet my friends this evening. Very very flat tires. *sigh* I give up.