Greetings from Seattle



Saturday, February 28, 2009

Olympia

Often when we hear the name Olympia, it's with a negative tone. It's our state capital and since it's the seat of our state government, there is always someone who doesn't like something coming out of there. But today we were making the trip for pleasure, not business. We went to an antique show held in the old National Guard Armory.
It was a good show with lots of interesting old stuff. Tom found a great watering can at a good price to add to his collection.
It was about noon when we left the Armory, so we looked for lunch near the capitol building. We found a great bakery/cafe.
No, we didn't go crazy here. But a lovely square of moist carrot cake was included with our soup and sandwich lunch.
We had a list of antique stores to check out, but the weather was mild and dry, so we chose instead to tour the capital campus.
The World War I memorial says Memorial to the World War. When it was erected we hadn't had a WWII yet.
Our capitol, technically the Legislative Building, is a majestic structure.
The flags were at half staff to honor a fallen soldier from our state. A greeter waits in the entry hall.
The seal of the state is in the floor of the rotunda.
Overhead is the dome.
The house of Representatives.
A Senator's messy desk. A detail in the Senate. Names of counties rim the ceiling. Seattle is in King County. George resides on a balcony. He has a very shiny nose.
Here's why. The Governor's Mansion is just next door. She wasn't expecting us so we didn't drop in. The capital campus overlooks Capital Lake, which is the southern terminus of Puget Sound. A trail leads down the bluff to the lake path.
We said "Why not?" and set off.
These beauties and their less colorful lady friends met us at the water's edge.
A bald eagle perched high in a tree on the bluff watched all the comings and goings.
We never did make it to any antique stores.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Daily Devotions

Each morning put on my clogs and I take the walk down the driveway out to the street to get the newspaper. Each morning I greet the day and it greets me - with rain, wind, winter darkness, summer sun and warmth, and this morning, snow. I feel the air temperature on my face, the sounds of neighbors going to work, the crunch of gravel underfoot, often birds flitting and chirping.
The arches of my cathedral are more Romanesque than Gothic, more loosely formed than stone. They provide a changing canopy overhead -bare branches, sometimes filigreed with snow, spring blossoms of pink, green shade in summer, gold overhead and beneath my feet in fall. Like cathedral arches, they draw my eye upward. Tree towers rise up into the sky.
Several weeks ago I posted a photo of the first branch bearing the opening blossoms of spring. After 60 degree temperatures last week, the blossoms have been emerging, somewhat tentatively, because they know it's only February, and anything can happen yet weather wise. They have been weighted down with snow before. And today it happened again.
I'm home this morning because school is starting two hours late. The Obamas, and apparently Chicagoans, would scoff, but it is still below freezing and we do have hills here. It has given me time to take my camera with me on my way to the paper box, and time to share it with you.
The newspaper is waiting, wrapped in plastic, snug and dry. Each day it is getting thinner and thinner. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer will cease to exist in a month or two. We'll probably switch to the less progressive Seattle Times, but it, too, may be doomed to Internet only before long.
I don't usually leave much footprint, but today was exceptional.
And look, soon the storm will pass and the sun will shine!
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Call this morning ritual my pagan nature worship, my praise to the god of all living things, my awakening to all the day holds, even my substitute for a cup of coffee, but when I can't, or don't do it, I miss it.
- When the newspaper is relegated to history, sitting at the computer reading the news on line will just not be a proper substitute for my daily devotions.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Catching Up and Resting Up

Testing is going well at school but I had a non-stop day of it and I'm tired. Blogging is a good way to rest. Something has happened to some of the photos on my site, so I'm resetting them. Not sure what I'll end up with, but Mt. Rainier will stay in some form or other. I have lots of good pics to choose from. I listened to the President's speech last night and I was impressed again by his steadiness and calmness in the face of so much trouble. He was inspirational enough that even I have a glimmer of hope that this will work. Since I don't know that much about economy, I can only hope that he is listening to those who do know what they're doing. There are plenty of critics out there, but they have no solutions either. The war situation is troubling - fifty thousand troops left in Iraq after 19 months? And will we make the mistake of getting thousands of troops bogged down in Afghanistan? I can only hope that this administration knows how to learn from history. And wasn't that Bobby Jindal just a little charmer last night. It's hard to know what was worse, the style or the substance of his speech. Both seemed equally bad. He had nothing to offer except that the Republican government that was in power during the Katrina disaster failed us. Well, duh. That doesn't mean all government is bad, just that government. I did have to take loud exception to his wanting to cut volcano monitoring funds. Obviously he doesn't live by one. But that would be like me saying let's cut the funds for hurricane or tornado tracking. As far as Governor Jindal goes, if that's the new face of the Republican't party, good luck to them. I hope they're prepared to lose even bigger the next time around, which would be just fine with me. But now I'll shut up and go seek wisdom from the rest of you.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Working

I'll be interrupting my life of leisure for seven days of work this week and next. After agreeing to it several months ago, I'm now finding that actually doing it is cramping my style. Oh well, I shouldn't complain. Right now lots of people are desperate to find any work at all. I will be administering the English Language speaking portion of the Washington Language Proficiency Assessment to ELL students at my local elementary school, the same school I retired from three and a half years ago. I have come back to do this testing each year since I retired. This assessment is done one-to-one for all of the qualifying students K - 6th grade. While Spanish is now the most common second language, we have a wide range of other languages. Immigrants from every place in the world that has created refugees are likely to show up in our district. I started today with kindergarten kids, coaxing them to talk to a perfect stranger in a language they aren't all that proficient in. It was a challenge, but fun so far. I will get tired of saying the same thing over and over again by the 150th student. I also am enjoying catching up with the staff members that remain with whom I previously worked. The school has gone through a lot of changes in staff in the last four years, with major changes yet to come. This is the last year for this building. The students and staff will move to a temporary site while this building is torn down and a new structure rises from the rubble. There will be a new principal. And the kids with special needs keep pouring in. Special blessings should be bestowed on public school teachers. They have an impossible job, with no relief in sight.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Project - Ruffles and Gathers

Since I will be giving my earlier creation to Irene for Easter, I needed to make another twirly dress to give to her for her birthday five days after Easter. I just finished this sun dress which should fill the bill. She loves swishy skirts and lacy details. She calls them her "Beautiful Dresses".

My granddaughter Irene will be four in April. How the time flies! The good news is that we will be there in Colorado to help her celebrate, just as we were four years ago when we welcomed her to her world.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Northwest Flower and Garden Show

Today we attended the big garden show at the Convention Center in Seattle. Well, officially it was yesterday, since it's now 1:30 AM, but I was having trouble sleeping so I got up and am catching up with blogging. I deliberately did not take my camera because I did not want to have to fight the crowds to try to get the shots I wanted. Sometimes it's nice just to look. The show has a large number of display gardens, beautifully done with interesting plants, large trees, huge boulders, water features, patios, you name it. Then there is a huge market with garden art, accessories, furniture, tools, books, and plants. Seminars run all day long, and the whole thing lasts five days. We arrived about 9:30 in the morning and left at 7:00 in the evening. We were tired but we had a great time and came away with a few treasures - some dahlia bulbs and some "yard art". This is the 21st show, and unless someone buys the production rights it will be the last, as the current company is going out of business. We have attended all but one of the shows. This show really makes you want to go out and plant things. It was even sunny and above 50 degrees again today. But reality tells you spring is not here and you must wait a bit longer. It will come in it's own good time.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Meme: What's In Your Bag?

Kay took the challenge from Peggy. I'm taking it from Kay.
Rules: Show the bag you carried today with today's contents. No cheating!
Tell where you bought the bag and about how much it cost. This is not a contest. Price is for fun, not competition.
My all purpose bag is from an Eddie Bauer outlet store and cost between $20 to $30 several years ago. It replaced a similar Eagle Creek bag.
The bag has slots for cards and cash and pockets inside of pockets for organization.
Attached to the bag is a compass. The contents include tissues, gum, pill bottle, checkbook, calendar, coin purse, Chapstick, cell phone, clip-on sunglasses, car keys, cabin keys and small multi-tool knife, comb, nail file, notebook, pen and pencil, photo holder.
Yes, sometimes it feels heavy and then I remove anything I don't really need that day or empty out most of the coins in the coin purse. But I do like having my stuff when I need it!
I'm not going to tag anyone, but play if you'd like to.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Destination Walk: Des Moines Creek

When I put on my walking shoes and head down the driveway on foot to get some exercise, it's a walk, but when I get in the car and drive somewhere in order to go for a walk, it's a destination walk. We are fortunate to have some great places not far from home. The Des Moines Creek Trail is only a ten minute drive from our house.
The trail is located just south of the runways of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, in the clear zone under the flight path. Some years ago when a new sewage treatment plant was built, a main pipeline was laid along a creek running through the woods. The cities of Des Moines and SeaTac worked with the sewer district to pave over the scar of the pipeline. Eventually the walkway was connected with a service road and now runs all the way to Puget Sound at Des Moines Creek Park. A dry, partly sunny Saturday gets Seattlites outside to enjoy their surroundings.
The trail is easy and partly paved. The babbling brook supplies walking music. Nature supplies interesting details.
Low flying aircraft supply the drama. The treatment plant supplied the right of way for the trail
A new bridge for the roadway above provides trail and stream access. The trail and creek meet the salt water at Des Moines Creek Park
The tide was out and families were enjoying the beach. These seagulls were getting an easy meal.
We walked out on the fishing pier to see what we could see.
The Des Moines marina was fairly quiet, but the sailor of this cute little boat had been out to enjoy the day.
Then it was time to retrace our steps to get back to the car. The slight, steadily uphill return gave us a good workout. Round trip is about five miles.
Fresh air, nature, exercise, companionship - a great outing.