Well, this morning was interesting.

Downed lines on the train track

Everyday I take the Broad street subway to Suburban Station, where I catch the Norristown line to Norristown, and from there a work shuttle to the office. Yes, it’s a long commute. And sometimes its fine, but other times…… today, after passing through Conshohocken, one stop away from Norristown, the lights flickered. Not too unusual. But then the train stopped. And a train roared by us going the other way, with a huge rattling noise, and some snapping cables hitting windows. Yup, the lines were pulled down. The train going the other way had snagged the overhead wires, and pulled down about half a mile of overhead catenary wire. According to a Philly.com article, the overhead lines were installed in 1933, and 15 of the 19 power substations were built in 1931 or earlier. Great. No wonder Septa is so awesome.

Commuters on the move

Of course with live wires all over the place, we weren’t allowed off the train at first. Classically, a pregnant lady was on my car of the train, and very vocal… “I’m 5 months pregnant, I can’t stay on this train for 3 hours!” Luckily, not too long after we stopped, the conductors (who looked more frantic than any train conductors I’ve ever seen) told us we could wait on the train for an undetermined amount of time, or we could walk a half mile back to the Conshohocken station, where shuttles would come by at some point to get us to another station. So off the train, for an exodus down the tracks. Two trains full of people trekking along. I met up with another colleague from the work shuttle, we chatted about Dune as we walked (I’ve been reading it on the commute, and its come up a few times) and kept a look out for other folks from the office.  We walked the tracks by crushed bleached deer bones and random broken glass. One woman fell and hurt her knee, some folks with medical training stayed to help her, and called an ambulance. Once we got to the station, my fellow-Dune-reading friend and I wandered around a bit looking for the shuttle and looking for other workers. There was no sign of the shuttle, no one knew when it would show up, and the work shuttle from Norristown wasn’t going to wait. So when eventually we ended up a group of 4 displaced work shuttle riders, we called a cab and made our way to the office.

So yeah. When they canceled the late shuttle last week, I thought it was time to get a car, as much as I hated the idea of it. This morning reaffirmed it. I’m pretty sure I’m going to hate driving. I’m going to hate parking. I’m going to hate traffic, and I’m going to hate that I finished paying off the second of my three school loans last month just to continue paying the same amount of money for a car. But I’m going to love not relying on Septa. The subway stinks, literally… it smells like the rotting death of something. It is dirty and the ground is still sticky and muddy from the rain 4 days ago. The regional rail is late a good 2/3rds of the time, and completely shuttle-missing late at least once every two months. Yeah, its great to read, its great to be able to knit. It’s nice to meet some of my co-workers and commiserate about the trek. But Septa- You Suck. You need to be taken to the ground and re-made. You aren’t making enough money because you don’t have enough riders because you’re completely unreliable. You’re ticket booth sales people are cranky and nasty (though the commuting-time conductors are usually really really nice!) and the high-speed drivers are totally unpredictable- muttering stop announcements and speeding past platforms or driving insanely ridiculously slow. Fellow riders are rude or walk s…o…. s….l….o….w…. that I miss my connection by seconds. You change schedules with no announcement or notifications. You notify of delays 20 minutes past the time it would be any help, if you notify at all. Your system is flawed. Completely and utterly flawed, and I will not miss you, no matter how bad the traffic gets.

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Snowy Commute, originally uploaded by ducksRfriends.

I tried to get a shot of the beautiful snow covered trees and the rest of the winter wonderland from the train, but unfortunately my phone just blurred it all….
The roads were full of snow, commuters bundled and well booted, the shuttle warm and the driver ( <3 Leon! Best driver ever) friendly.

Now, stuffed from a delicious dinner at Lucky 13, going to watch Resident Evil (so delightfully cheesy!) drink port and knit. Not a bad way to wrap up a snowy non-snow-day.

I’ve been neglectful. My days aren’t so interesting lately, just a lot of commuting and finding my way through the new office and the new parts of my day. Weekends have been spent doing errands, planning meals and filing paperwork and mail away in my new file box. I know, exciting, right?

But the commute has some striking moments. I head back into the city as the sun sets most days, and the clouds are in lovely fall form. Even if it does take ages and ages to get to the office, at least there are trees and grass, and sky not blocked by buildings.

Seriously? All the trains are down? Oh, and that two-hour leeway period I planned is slowly slowly fading away? Great. Fantastic! I really do love being reliant on the rails.

It all worked out in the end, thank the stars I left myself plenty of time.

Leave the house at 6:30. Catch a 7:09 train. Relax with my book, listen to music. Train seems stopped longer than usual.  Conductor doesn’t know whats going on. Train still stopped. I’m not too worried, I know I have extra time. Train still stopped. Everyone gets off to catch a bus transfer to Trenton. Bus drives by. Train blows its whistle- everyone back on! “We’ll get moving, sometime, I think.” Hmmm… that’s reassuring. Get moving, arrive in Trenton. NJTransit train soon to arrive. Mental calculations, my two hour buffer has dwindled to a mere 20 minutes, if this new train has no problems. I was planning on taking the subway to my interview- but thought a taxi would eliminate the waiting-for-the-next-train anxiety. Taxi driver says it will be 15 to 20 minutes. No buffer left. Call the office, let them know I’m running late. Taxi drops me off, five minutes to spare! But alas! 3 blocks away! 42nd street does not equal 45th street. Shouldn’t have tipped him. This is why I don’t take cabs. Ask a kindly gentleman which direction 42nd is…. and run the remaining 3 blocks, tottering in my heels. Arrive breathless, a few minutes after 11.

Hell, at least it was a conversation piece, and I managed to catch my breath somewhere between the elevator ride and the first few minutes of interview. Ug. This is why I am perpetually early- always prepare for the worst.

Elkins Estate

Originally uploaded by ducksRfriends

Last weekend, Angie and I took workshops with Zafira, hosted by Hipnosis. They were held on the Elkins Estate, a most amazing location. It was a big old marble building with beautiful grounds, a really lovely way to spend a spring day. The drills were awesome, and the performances that night were fantastic.

After being on a pretty big high about our troupe, we got a bit of a reality check when we performed on Sunday. The evening went less than smooth, and I for one felt rather off during the performance. Of course, I often feel off and its only when I see the video that I realize no one in the audience can see how it feels like my legs can’t hold me up quite right. Even if it wasn’t as bad as we think, we still have a lot of work ahead of us before we can be a real troupe. Spring Caravan looms and I fear that we will not be able to get enough practice time to feel comfortable facing that room full of dancers from all over the country. Although, I’ve heard that once you loose your anxiety before performing, it means you don’t care anymore… I don’t know if thats true or not, but it makes the butterflies a little easier to deal with.

Its funny, being around all these dancers lately has really made me want to get my tattoo….

elephants on parade

elephants

elephants

Every day I ride home past a strip of tattoo parlors, and it always gets me thinking…. I’m still in search of someone to draw out my tattoo. I have a pretty good idea of what I want, including some reference images and a poorly photoshopped mock-up. What I lack is the skill. I’m looking for something that is very illustrated, pulling inspiration from Trina Schart Hyman‘s storybook images. (Also, the cover of this book) So now my plea…. can someone please help me find an illustrator willing to draw out my tattoo? Or recommend a tattoo shop in Philadelphia with artists who could do it?

The drawing to the right is the reference I mocked up (I want it on my upper left arm).

As a side note,  I’m currently in love with Nancy Elizabeth‘s song “Corriander”…. so lovely….. take a listen and you’ll see what I mean. Thank you Pandora. Thank you.