Tuesday, September 8, 2009
"Once we were happy in our own country and we were seldom hungry, for then the two-leggeds and the four-leggeds lived together like relatives, and there was plenty for them and for us. But the Wasichus came, and they have made little islands for us and other little islands for the four-leggeds, and always these islands are becoming smaller , for around them surges the gnawing flood of the Waishu; and it is dirty with lies and greed."
This quote grabbed me. It was so eloquently put. The before and after. The reality of two cultures clashing. The idea of a flood that is dirty with lies and greed could be applied to so many different events in our world's history. The effect mentioned here is not the first of its kind, nor the last. It continues on today in countries all over the world and in political, cultural and economic systems where one group pushes out another to feed their greed for more. It happens in the cut throat business world everyday; it happens in countries like Sudan; it happens in neighborhoods where big development comes in and tears down all the buildings that poorer people are living in and replaces them with half-million dollar condos and equivalent apartments those people that lived there before will never be able to afford, so they get pushed out over and over again. It is a wonder that the human race has never learned.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
That is what this book was about more than anything I think - inner honesty. Being real with yourself and even if no one else knows it - because you keep up the facade , at least your not fooling yourself- as much. The main character came to a different conclusion than I would of - if I could get away with just being me that is - no editing what I am thinking or hiding what I am dong to keep others from reacting and either coming unglued or being so silent and tight-lipped that you just want to tell them to spit it out already - they've already thought it loud enough for everyone to hear anyway. This book was a good read for me because it opened up my personal journaling in even deeper ways. I have several entries where I let it all out - all the frustrations of interfering meddlesome people. People who think so highly of themselves and their ways that they elevate themselves as judge over you in all their interactions - either openly in the "name of love" or silently - glowering eyes and fake smiles. The author tackled some "taboo" subjects (I hate the idea of "taboo" subjects, by the way) in fairly blunt ways, especially with the main characters inner dialogue. Although the character rarely followed through in action what he was feeling and thinking - at least things were addressed that normally get swept under the rug. And the ending was, although not the way I would have ended it, decent enough - one possible outcome to a life with complex interactions and situations to be dealt with. And the kittens were a nice touch.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Now continuing with After Lucy. I am about three quarters of the way through. There have been some twist and turns - unexpected plot building that leaves me really wondering how this book is going to turn out. The author has covered a lot of different issues so far and amazingly keeps adding more - cancer, death of a spouse, in-law relations, children coping, unusual social situations, counter culture, life choices and paths and more.
I like that. I like how occasionally you can feel where the author hit his inner nerves just right and the words flew out onto the pages expressing difficult things to express and in blatantly honest ways. It feels uncensored - like what life is like for real but so often gets touted as something else.
I'll end with a particular poignant quote from the book.
"Privately he'd fancied himself as the emerging Springsteen of the art world. God knows the painting world needed a Bruce Springsteen to cut through all the elitist crap and reveal what a pure struggle life was for most working people out there -- the meat-and-potatoes stuff artists used to care about but didn't seem to bother with anymore. No wonder the average person didn't give two shits about going to art galleries and museums. Nothing inside spoke to them. It all had to be explained, and even then the explanations wouldn't make any sense unless you'd studied cubism and feminism and postmodernism and read Kant and Freud and Kierkegaard and had memorized the complete history of all the world's religions."
Monday, August 17, 2009
Now for the 'cheat' part. Is it really cheating if it's a book about writing? A non-fiction book that you read a little of and then do the exercise? Isn't that more like reference or text books? Well, I don't think it counts. (And yes, I probably can validate anything if I try.)
Now that I've confessed, maybe I can get back to reading the 'A' book, because I'm being awfully slow about this and the list of books to read is just getting longer and longer.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
The book has been a good one so far. Interesting, straight forward, and bluntly honest. It has inspired quite a bit of personal relfection along the way. What follows is one of those reflections.
The first sting at the back of the eyes came on page nine for me, when it mentions his wife's light yet serious way of telling him what she wants at her funeral. It turns out to be a shrine of memorobelia from her life, the things that showed who she was, where her path took her and what was important to her. It reminded me of going through my mom's stuff after she died. How she wasn't there any more,so suddenly - so harshly not there, but everything that she interacted with on a daily basis was. Her kitchen and stained coffee mugs. The old round table she would sit hours at reading book after book and the piles of books as well. The huge collecion of cookbooks she just couldn't resist when she broused through her favorate thrift stores. All the teapots given to her over the years or picked up herself. The cats that she had been so happy to get from Mark and I after we had rescued them and nursed them back to health. They were sitting there looking up at me, wondering what was going on and obviously greatful someone they new and trusted was there with them, to comfort them after loud sirens and rushes of men in big boots and mom being carried out to an ambulence, never to return home. It was the oddest thing to have been surrounded by everything that reminded me of her and have it feel like she was going to walk into the room any minute and offer me a cup of coffee, sit down at the table and slide a pile of books towards me that she's saved because she just knew I would enjoy them and then give me a few spoilers just because she couldn't help herself, only to sit down at that very table,myself, petting one of those cats and realizng with a heaviness it would never happen again like that, never.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Here's the recipe as I made it:
1 package orzo
6 T olive oil (I used an herb infused oil from some marinated mozzarella balls I had.)
1 1/2 t grated lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 small garlic cloves (from our garden)
kosher salt to taste
fresh ground black pepper to taste
ground cayenne pepper to taste
2 plum tomatoes, diced (CSA)
3 small yellow crookneck squash, seeded and diced (CSA)
3 red scallions, sliced (CSA)
1/2 cup chopped parsley (from our garden)
2 T chopped fresh basil (from my bedroom window herb garden)
Cook the orzo and rinse with cool water, let drain.
Combine all the other ingredients, add orzo, and toss well.
Friday, June 26, 2009
It was a 1.25 mile bike ride from our Belltown apartment to the new Cascade Farmer's Market in the South Lake Union neighborhood. Not to bad of a commute to a Farmer's Market even if the route could use more consistent bike lanes and the location more bike racks. Once I did find a place to lock up my bike my first purchase was a container of raspberries that I munched as I browsed the various vendors.
There were a few produce farmers set up and several fruit sellers. I saw my first market zucchini of the year and managed to keep myself from buying any, knowing I had an over abundance of other vegetables from our CSA and our p-patch. But it was hard. I really wanted that zucchini. For fruit there were flats of strawberries, raspberries, cherries and even a few apricots. I didn't see any favas and I know I couldn't have past them up if I had. Fresh favas have such a short season you just have to grab them when you find them. I hope I still have a chance. There were plenty of greens and carrots and other beautiful earth bounty.
What I was happiest to see was the Samish Bay Cheese people were there because I was all out of cheese at home. I had been hoping that a local cheese maker would be at this market. Next came the tough job of deciding which cheeses to get. I tasted a few and finally went with two very different varieties, the raw milk Port Madison and a fresh farm cheese that I can't recall the name of at the moment. I wonder if anyone has ever thought to create a cheese and dairy CSA - I'd be all over it! The same farm also sells humanely raised organic meats and they had their meat stand set up right next to the cheese.
A little ways down I came across a local pasta maker, La Pasta. They had a good selection of pastas including several different raviolis. Ravioli is something I have been craving for a while now and just haven't been able to take the time to make, so I couldn't resist. I got a package of the mixed mushroom ravioli. I think I will be making that for dinner soon with the mushrooms and garlic scapes from the latest Full Circle CSA box we got.
There were flower vendors, a roasted nut vendor and few others to round out the market. I don't know if there are plans to bring more vendors in as the summer progresses or if this will be the main group, but for the most part you can get most of what you need for a good meal among those already there.
The Cascade Farmer's Market will be every Thursday from 3-7pm through September 24th.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Another surprise was one decent sized orange Sea Pen. That was a first for me at the park, if I recall correctly, and I know I had never seen them on the north beach. These had all but disappeared from the park for quite a while according to long time staff members, so the fact that they are starting to show up again is great news. Hopefully that is a sign of increasing health for the Discovery Park beaches.
Squirting clams were a thrill for everyone. "Talking" barnicles were worth listening to. The quarter sized sunflower star was amazing to see - several of the kids had seen the full sized ones at the aquarium and it was fun to compare. The Sunflower Sea Stars can get well over a foot across.
We had a Great Blue Heron stick around on the beach even with the groups of people milling around. Normally, they take off squawking the moment you get even slightly near them. And one of the big highlights for several people was the galloping River Otter that crossed the beach and took off into the water.
I had a fun group of five kids between kindergarten and fourth grade, two moms, and two college age girls visiting from different parts of the country. This group had great beach etiquette and lots of enthusiasm - which made being out there that much more of a pleasure.
I can't wait to check it out!
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
This event is definitely a Seattle Classic, this being its 38th consecutive year and it is always worth showing up for at least the parade! So much creativity and let's not forget all the body painted nude cyclists - this year there were more than ever! We hadn't been to the festival in several years and were looking forward to attending again ever sense we moved back to Seattle. We got there an hour before the parade and had second row seats. It was nice to just chill with our new neighbors and wait in anticipation for the entertainment to begin. And entertaining it was...
Here is a video, all be it a wobbly one, of the famous Fremont Solstice Cyclists. And yes, I realize it was polo not cricket - can you blame me for being distracted?!
After the parade we wandered through all the booths and found some really talented artists scattered among them. One woman made the most beautiful and colorful feather masks I have ever seen. There were a couple jewelry makers that Mark picked up cards from after seeing me admire their work - just in case we ever have spending money again? There were also several amazing potters showing their wares. There were a good number of informational booths including a healthy living area that was holding free yoga "classes" on the spot.
Eventually we had our fill of looking through the booths and headed for Gasworks Park where there was supposed to be music and dancing. Unfortunately there was only one band and only a few people moving to the music. This was disappointing to us. In years past we always enjoyed the huge drumming and dancing circles that went into the night and were sad to see not a one or anything that lead us to believe it would be happening at all. Without a good beat to revive us, we took our aching feet back to the bus stop and headed home. Which is probably for the best since tomorrow is going to be a long day of Beach Naturalist duty and family gathering for Father's Day. Still, I'm sad that I'm not out there right now, moving my hips to a good drum beat with a bunch of fun-loving fellow dancers...
The garden really is doing very well over all and I am looking forward to that first zucchini like you wouldn't believe!
Monday, April 20, 2009
A retail shop devoted entirely to the umbrella.
A homeless woman living out of a shopping cart had made a small flower bed in the upper section of the cart and filled it with bright yellow primroses.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Friday, February 27, 2009
However, I have had an experience concerning the Tidepool Sculpin that left a lasting impression on me. It was the summer of my sixth year and we were living in Lincoln City, on the Oregon coast. We had spent a day down on the beach, and I had been knee deep in the tide pools or leaning over reaching in as far as I could. This was the day I first recall really discovering the Tidepool Sculpin. (This is also the day I lost my purple jacket to the tide - but that's a different story.) At the time I didn't know that was what it was called. To me it was this incredibly interesting little fish that one moment wasn't there and then was revealed suddenly by its quick darting across the tide pools sandy bottom with the passing of a shadow over the pool or the sudden appearance of a six year olds foot in its home. As quickly as it appeared it again disappeared. And now it was a puzzle, a game. I was determined to find it again and even more determined to be able to see it even when it wasn't darting from one spot to the other. I wanted to uncover its secret. I am sure I spent any number of hours doing just that - completely unfazed by the freezing cold northern pacific ocean waters I was standing in. Towards the end of the day, I had become so fond of my new friend that I didn't care to part company. Since I was not likely to be allowed to live indefinitely in a tide pool on the beach, I got a cup from our picnic basket and somehow managed to catch my own little Tidepool Sculpin. It went home with me, and although I understood that it needed salt water - beyond that I had no knowledge of what this critter needed to survive. The result is probably obvious by now. My sculpin died. Somehow, even then, I knew that it had died because of me. That stuck with me. I no longer took tide pool creatures out of their homes, because I didn't want anymore to go the way of that sculpin.
Years later I learned much more about the Tidepool Sculpin's habitat. It needed the constant changing of waters that were provided by tide pools and with that change of water, a new supply of food. It would then be able to produce more sculpins, but only under the circumstances provided in the unique tide pool habitat. A cup - even of salt water - was no home for a sculpin or any other wild creature either. To live and thrive they needed to stay where they were or be provided a place of equal quality by those who had the means and training to do so - such as a well ran Aquarium.
I learned to just appreciate these and other creatures in their proper habitat. It is far more pleasant than having a new found friend die at your own hands. So, all though, I may not be able to come up with some cutesy theme to lead a program about the Tidepool Sculpin, I hope somehow I will still be an effective interpreter, to be able to communicate what I learned in a way that will successfully help others discover the wonders of the varied habitats around them and those creatures that call those habitats home. And to leave them there for others to enjoy in the future.
Monday, February 23, 2009
I first spotted the 11 swans on Lake Washington back in late January. I had been birding in the Washington Park Arboretum and was making my way across the Foster Island boardwalk when I noticed several large white birds across the water towards the Union Bay Natural Area, commonly known as "The Fill" among local birders. I was stopped in my tracks - never had I seen Trumpeter Swans on Lake Washington. This was a rare treat, or I thought it was. But this group of birds decided to stick around and I saw them again only a few days later. Whenever I was walking in the area over the next couple weeks, people would see my binoculars and ask me if I had seen the swans - even non-birders were taking notice - but how could they not? Trumpeter Swans are graceful, elegant, and huge. They are hard to ignore, even for people who don't usually take a second look at birds. Now people were pausing in their jogs and walks to stop and appreciate the new Lake Washington residents.
Some time passed, and I didn't get out towards the Fill for a few weeks or at least not long enough to bird. So when I treated myself to a walk there last week I was pleased to find that rare visitors had stuck around - and they weren't being camera shy! All 11 were up close to shore last Friday afternoon and many a photographer was taking advantage of the fact. I, unfortunately (or fortunately if I consider I would have to carry it), don't have a fancy digiscope or huge SLR to take pictures of birds. However, I have learned to take shots with my little digital camera through my binoculars. They don't always turn out that great, but every once in a while I get something that will pass. Here are a few of those.
We learned much about the history of the park as well as the lay out. I have been frequenting this park for many years now and am amazed at the little corners I have yet to explore or the bits of history I have yet to learn. I am looking forward to more adventures to come.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
On Thursday we received a community garden plot assignment - something we were thinking would not happen for another year or two. What a pleasant surprise. Hm. That is not quite putting it right. If I am to be entirely honest I will have to mention that I was jumping up and down clapping my hands like a little kid, giggling and grinning, and exclaiming my joy. I was giddy. I am giddy.
After March 7th I'll get to start playing in my little patch of dirt at the Interbay P-Patch here in Seattle. The timing was great. The few precious flowers and herbs I dug up from my house in Olympia won't need to find a temporary home in my mother-in-laws yard (though she was kind enough to allow that).
For now I dream. I'll imagine all the wonderful things I can put into my plot. I'll look forward to making it mine. I'll look forward to the community I will make with those I'll be gardening along side of. Now my head is full of summer flowers and huge salads made from the bounty of my little patch of dirt here in Seattle.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
The zoo isn't the only place to manage this luxury either. The Pacific Science Center has a tropical butterfly house with temperatures staying between 80 and 85 degrees and the always pleasant butterflies to keep you company. Further downtown there is the Seattle Aquarium where you can wander through the tropical section and take a very dry walk among the fish. Don't forget to say "hi" to Dory and Nemo while you're there. Haven't had quite enough of the tropics yet? Then head up to Capital Hill and take a stroll through the Volunteer Park Conservatory which houses a large number of tropical and other warm region plants including a beautiful selection of orchids. Sit on a little bench near the waterfall and soak it all in.
With a membership to the Zoo and Aquarium as well as the Science Center (the conservatory is free but welcomes donations) you can have this tropical vacation as often as needed for a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of what it would cost to fly off to the tropics.
Check out the links to the right to learn more about the membership costs and operating hours of these wonderful places. Be sure to compare the memberships with the single entry fees. You'll quickly see what a great deal it is.
Sunday, February 1, 2009
I am not sure if I will work with The Local Life - The Good Life again - we'll see. In the mean time, if you haven't given up on me, you can find we at the above link.