Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Grandma Shirley

This is how I remember my grandma from my childhood. 

  1. Going to Mexico city together
  2. Staying at Grandma's during the summer as a kid.
  3. Tuna fish sandwiches and icecream
  4. Staying at Sandra's with Bob
  5. Talking about science and ideas with her at the table
  6. Books in her office - sci fi and the Nancy Drew Hardy Boys
  7. Her riding to our house as little kids on her motorcycle with Grandpa
  8. Building nesting boxes with Grandma in Indiana 
  9. Wood turning 
  10. Her showing us as kids that she could take her dentures out
  11. Getting sick at her house
  12. The chickens with the inside out feathers
  13. Black walnuts
  14. Talking to her about my Dad after he died.
  15. Her working on woodworking in the workshop
  16. Using potatoes to attract nematodes in her garden
  17. Going with her on the lawnmower and then watching her bludgeon to death a gopher with a shovel. 
  18. Her in her coat and hat getting irritated people thought she was a little old man
  19. Eating out with Bob and Grandma
  20. Bob in the workshop
  21. Bob and grandma talking to Leila when I first brought her home
  22. Mom and Grandma's excursions 
  23. At my Dad's funeral
  24. The big 90th birthday bash.  
  25. All of the help she gave us when we first came to Boise. 
  26. When Colleen was born while she was visiting in Indiana
  27. Stories about her childhood
  28. Gardening 
  29. MR2
  30. waking up while driving to Nampa as a child in the car and watching the red headlights in front of us working their way up and down the hills along the highway.  Seeing the city stretched out ahead of us like a glowing amoeba along the hill.  
  31. The old house with the porch 
  32. Playing tag with cousins in the yard after Grandpas funeral
  33. Sandra's trailer and her dog with mismatched eyes. 
  34. That time I got sick while staying at her house and she helped me clean up. 
  35. That card game with the board she made for all of us.
  36. Playing scrabble and losing by 80 or 90 points

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Apps may be the savior of public transportation

I can't think of many things that is as intimidating as taking the bus or subway in a strange town. Especially a large city. Buses may seem infrequent and routes bizarre and out of your planned path. I think many people avoid public transportation because it is inconvenient and requires a foreknowledge of routes and timetables. 

Looking at my commute to work I mentioned to a colleague that I was considering biking to work instead of driving or taking the bus on days with bad weather. I have a few pounds around the middle I need to work off after almost a year of back and forth to STL, hotel rooms, and restaurant food. I also feel nostalgic about riding to campus as a grad student. Monsanto in chesterfield is so big that it looks and feels like a college campus. My coworker is French and he scoffed that as a white American I would take the bus or bike instead of driving. 

That was a challenge, so when I flew to STL as part of a trip to MD on Thursday I decided I would not rent a car or take a taxi or an uber (My colleagues all use this as a noun, which shows how ubiquitous Uber has become, I bet it or something like it will eliminate the traditional taxi) - all costing about 25-35 dollars for the day. I decided I would take the bus. The bus said it would take over an hour to get to campus, but driving was estimated at 30 minutes.  Google estimates by bike were only 1.5 hours. I was by far the minority on the bus and the Metrolink train.  Almost all riders were black, some Hispanic.  

There is a metro train that runs to the airport. It is on the back side of the parking garage and obviously little used. The train comes every few minutes. The app told me I would have to wait until 8, but then a train came and Google somehow knew it and updated the times.  This is a transformative tech if we take advantage of it. I followed the revised instructions and got to Chesterfield in just under an hour.  Other riders also were using google maps to check to see if buses or trains were delayed or ahead of schedule.  I think like Uber has updated Taxi service by making it possible to easily check on your phone and get a ride, apps around public transportation could really help break down barriers about using public transportation.  

So the kids and I will be using public transport to go downtown St. Louis.  Nothing is more aggravating than getting stuck in traffic with a minivan full of whiny kids and then trying to find parking at the zoo. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

One week left in Huxley

It feels very unreal that a week from today we are moving. I will miss Huxley terribly I am afraid. No place has felt so much like home.