....of a different sort.
I'm in Seattle on bidness this weekend. Seattle is a really great city, one that I'd definitely come back to. The air is clean; it's been a bit rainy and blowy, but not terribly cold; the coffee is fabulous and so is the seafood (I had fried oysters and a mug of clam chowder my first day here - YUM!!!!); and there's plenty to do as opposed to where I was stationed previously in Philly and PIttsburgh (I really liked Pittsburgh but it was DEADSVILLE after 6PM and on Sundays; and my overall impression of Philly was "dirty, stinky, and gross." You'd have to pay me to go back. Luckily, they do!).
The children's hospital we've been administering our exams at is just stunning. It's HUGE and sprawling, so getting candidates (not to mention our examiners!) situated was a great challenge, but we got that under control and got things running smoooooooothly by lunchtime the first day. I had time yesterday afternoon to explore the hospital, make a few kids giggle (I could totallly work at a kids' hospital - especially this one!), and try the coffee at Tully's - Seattle's third largest chain, the largest being Starbucks and the second largest, Seattle's Best, being owned by - Starbucks. *heavy sigh*. Explained why the menu boards for both Starbucks and Seattle's Best were so similar, and why the coffee at both was so dang good!! (o: Starbucks is EVERYWHERE here. I half expected the exams to be sponsored by them.
I realize the hospital I was stationed at is a children's hospital, hence it's name: Children't Hospital; but it really is WONDERFULLY kid-friendly. The halls children may be wheeled down in gurnees have brightly colored trains chugging along near the ceilings, complete with tunnels and foliage and bright, sunny surroundings. The painted sky is a soothing, lightly clouded blue. There are mosaiced fish all along the floor embedded in the tile. The elevators are hand-painted underwater portals with friendly, curious, gently smiling porpoises peeping in. The kids chairs are exactly the same as the grown-ups', only smaller. The staff was AMAZING and SO helpful and friendly - nobody's too hurried or stressed to help or find help, and everyone is quick with a smile. I loved seeing kids everywhere. Even though some were in wheelchairs, or had IV poles to drag around, this was their place and the overall feeling was one of calm - "everything's being done to get you well, and we're working hard to prevent future illness of all sorts. So while you're here - check out this cool-fun-thing over here and enjoy the bright paintings and climbable animal sculptures!" Most of the kids - inpatient and out - smiled at least once that I saw. I'm a huge believer that smiling and laughter are extremely conducive to healing.
The child theme began as soon as I arrieved at SEA-TAC. The baggage belt wasn't moving, so I copped a squat on a nearby long bench and cracked open my Straub. (Confidential to you "Scare The Bejeebus outta OrangeMoJoJo" participants, Paul is VERY FAR in the lead with his submission of "Ghost Story". I even had to leave my light on for a few minutes last night - something I haven't had to do in YEARS!! It was awesome!!!). Two smallish, quiet forms appeared, one on either side of me. I didn't pay much attention - I was pretty absorbed in my book. (Dr. Jaffer's apparent suicide may have been "obviously" caused by an unsound mind as a result of his narcotic addiction to the majority of the town of Milburn, but Hawthorne, James and I weren't fooled!) A woman came by and brought me back to my surroundings by congratulating me on my two adorable children. I gave her a look of "...Huh?" then glanced to my quiet companions on either side. There, on this bench at least 20 feet long, I was closely flanked by two adorable kids - a blond girl about 7 and a dark-haired boy who was maybe 4. Nobody else was seated on the bench. A few minutes later two different sets of parents came by after grabbing their luggage and took one kid apiece, and the kids waved and laughed like I was an aunt or someone they knew. This sort of thing happens to me all the time. Kids for some reason are drawn to me. I had one lead me around the giraffes at the zoo once, chattering all the while.
I'm currently watching the Seattle Seahawks battle the San Francisco 49ers. And the 49ers are winning in the second quarter. What the hell...????