Volume I, Number IX: 1996
The Moving to Olympia Edition
Christmas in "New Jerusalem"
OLYMPIA -- In 1853, an early pioneer to the Pacific Northwest came to the Nisqually River delta where he planned to build "New Jerusalem." A hundred and forty-three years later, a couple of wanderers from the North Country have settled just below that delta on Patterson Lake.
We have purchased a 40-year-old bungalow in Olympia, 60 miles south of Seattle. We found the house in late September. Our eighth wedding anniversary came during the nervous period between the offer's acceptance and the deal's closing, which it did on October 24. We began moving in the next day. When your stuff is spread across two counties within Washington state, not to mention the furniture and 100 or so boxes in storage at a couple of locations in Manitoba, marshaling everything under one roof takes on a life of its own.
Everything is here now. It has been fun rediscovering things that have been in storage for four, eight and, in some cases, 20 years. We are just tickled with the place. Considering we've only been living here a few short months, it feels very much like home.
The neighborhood is more rural than suburban. We have been struck by the small town feel of Olympia -- it is part of the state capital that is easy to miss when you are working on the capital campus during the week. Elaine figures it’s much like Brandon, Manitoba -- without the snow tires, booster cables and toques.
Our Olympia-born cats are back home and have picked out their favorite windows for watching the world go by. We like the spots they picked too -- most every room has at least a partial view of the lake and Mount Rainier.
Summer in the Old Country
GREAT BRITAIN -- Elaine and her parents journeyed to the old country this summer. While her Mum spent the full three weeks in Northern Ireland visiting her father's family, Elaine and her Dad discovered Britrail. Traveling by train up to Carlisle/Brampton, England on the Scottish border, they explored the roads, farms and cemeteries of the Routledges who had left the area 145 years ago.
Their next stop was Fraserburgh, in northeast Scotland, where Elaine's Anderson, Strachan, and Morison families originated from 120 years ago. They discovered some long lost relatives, who in wonderful Scottish hospitality, chauffeured them around, provided details about the family that had stayed in Scotland, and were willing participants in cemetery explorations. The research done in Scotland will be the basis for the final project to complete the Genealogy and Family History course Elaine is taking at the University of Washington. After a stop with a cousin of Mum's in Scotland, Elaine and her Dad arrived in Northern Ireland for a whirlwind 6 days.
On Becoming Digital
CAPITOL CAMPUS -- You've heard the hyperbole -- information infrastructure is the 21st Century equivalent of roads, bridges and ports. Paul is working for the state government agency that is building that infrastructure, rolling out new technologies on behalf of other agencies and developing public policy for the digital age.
He joined the Washington State Department of Information Services (DIS) in April, after a series of contract assignments with the agency. He is working on a number of major technology and policy initiatives, including a new educational network, Year 2000 date field compliance and the development of government sites on the World Wide Web. He was also the staff coordinator of the Governor's Work Group on Commercial Access to Government Electronic Records -- the assignment most responsible for not getting the TaylorGram and other correspondence done in a timely fashion.
With the move to Olympia, Paul's daily commute has been slashed from 3 hours to 30 minutes. The trade-off is that Elaine, who is now working part-time, is commuting two or three times a week up to Seattle (with a little help from an express bus between Tacoma and Seattle). She is still nursing in the Critical Care Unit of the Northwest's trauma centre --Harborview. At 75% of full-time, Elaine gets to operate relatively free of organizational politics and actually gets to care for patients.