Olympia: Where the Flower Children Meet the Hillbillies

Olympia: Where the Flower Children Meet the Hillbillies

Olympia is a funny town. It has a mix of hippies, rednecks, and government workers all hiking the same trails. It’s on the water, and its downtown is a medley of cafes, record stores, and boutiques. It’s Portlandia and Duck Dynasty with yuppies.  Here are some fun things to do in Olympia.

  • Visit the Farmers Market. They have a stand there that sells beef patties with crumbles of blue cheese in them. Get some and make your family barbeque it for you.
  • Go to StoryOly. This is an open mic night at Rhythm and Rye (a local bar), but with personal stories instead of questionable poetry. As a writer, I plan on shamelessly stealing these stories for my work.
  • Play in the water. My family bought an Avon last winter, and we’ve been trying it out these past couple months. Tip: Pay attention to the tide. We took it out in low tide once and had to lug it thirty yards down the beach. My sister cut her foot, and I almost twisted my ankle between the boat and an oyster.
  • Shop downtown. Archibald Sisters is always cool. They have funny books like Vader’s Little Princess and coffee mugs with Dr. Who’s Tardis on them. When I said cool, I meant nerdy.
  • In downtown Olympia, you are never more than a block away from a café. Take advantage of this. Some good ones are the Spar and the Bread Peddler.

Finally, swim against the tide when you’re in the water. Or you may end up in Seattle.

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I’m Sweaty and I know it

I’m Sweaty and I know it

I exercise a lot. Enough that my room needs an air freshener and my family makes me do all the heavy lifting. They call me their Sherpa. Here are five ways to make sure you get regular exercise.

  • Make it routine. I do mine every morning before work. On the plus side, it gives me energy for the day. On the minus side, I want to stay glued to my bed like a barnacle, not get up and do push-ups.
  • Moderate is okay. It’s better to go for a walk and enjoy it, than to go for a run, have your chest explode, and never do it again.
  • If you can afford it, take an exercise class. Having someone yell at you to pick up your heels is more fun than you’d think.
  • Try a sport. Part of the reason I work out is so I can stay fit for martial arts. If I can’t roundhouse kick your head, then I need to stretch out my hips and do some squats. I knocked someone twice my size down with a roundhouse once. Then I had to kneel down because I really wasn’t supposed to do that.
  • Don’t run on concrete. It hurts your joints. Take it from someone who does it more often than she should.

If you follow these tips, then you too can lug dog food in from the car—Sherpa.

Woman versus Internet

Woman versus Internet

I got a computer virus last Monday, so I switched to another computer. On Tuesday, that computer caught a virus. This year, I have had more than my share of viruses. I flinch every time I go on the internet. Don’t ask me about preventing viruses. You’ll end up with a screen full of porn and a voice telling you that they’ll shut down your computer if you don’t call them immediately. But I have become an unwilling expert in what to do after you have a virus.

  • Don’t call the voice that says it will shut down your computer. Don’t call out at all. You will get the nasty scammers that planted the virus in the first place.
  • Pull out the Ethernet cable. Otherwise the virus spreads to other computers in the network. The Ethernet cable is the one with the clear little plastic thing on the end.
  • You don’t have to unplug everything—only the Ethernet. At first, I’d yank out every cable I could reach. Then the IT guy made fun of me.
  • Try to remember what site you were on. That sight could be a landmine. Or it could be a site you clicked on last week, and the virus lay dormant for a while. [Insert bitter laughter.]
  • If all else fails, hit the computer with a baseball bat like they did in Office Space. It’s what I’m trying next.

And always, always, get the IT people if you have them. Here’s how the last exchange between me and IT went.

IT: “This is going to suck for you.”

Me: “I gathered this was going to suck for me.”

Networking for the Nervous

Networking for the Nervous

The word networking makes me shudder. I think of standing around with a pig in a blanket and a business card with absolutely nothing to say. My stomach flutters, and I  bounce my leg. I recently tried a new (for me) kind of networking, informational interviews. An informational interview is when you sit down with someone who is where you want to be on the career ladder and ask them how they got there.  Here are a few ways I found to make them less scary.

  • Meet someplace informal. It takes the pressure off. Going for coffee is always a winner, plus you get to drink coffee.
  • When you meet with someone, you don’t actually have to memorize their entire resume. I went to a career workshop that made it seem like you had to know their complete life story. This isn’t true. They won’t get mad if you don’t know what summer job they had as a teenager.
  • That said, google them and write down prepared questions. They’ll be impressed that you’re organized.
  • If you don’t know them, find out what they look like. This way you don’t stand around awkwardly peering into people’s faces or (as a last resort) walk up to every professional who comes in alone and ask, “Are you so and so?”
  • Remember, interviewees are people too. One of the women I interviewed showed up in a Star Wars t-shirt (always a good sign). The other woman, like me, still lives with her parents. I didn’t know whether to be relieved or depressed by this.

If you’re still nervous, that’s okay. I am too. I think I’ll grab a pig in a blanket.