Sunday, December 21, 2008


It doesn't take much snow to shut Seattle down. I guess that's mainly because we don't get it very often and folks tend to get confused and a little panicy when it threatens to fall. But it's also because we don't have many plows and sand trucks, so streets can pile up with 4-6 inches of snow and all it can do is get packed into ice. Combine that with steep hills and mild temperatures that often put a skim of water on top of the ice and it's no wonder it's hard to get around.

On the other hand, over the past week the schools started late twice and were canceled three days, for a grand total of 2-6 inches of snow. And if the coming week wasn't already vacation, it would have become one. Good thing the climate is warming, otherwise our kids might get no education at all.


The past week has brought several loads of snow to the Seattle area, more than we typically get in an entire year.
And it's snowing again this evening. It's not that we have that much - maybe six inches - but that it's so unusual to get snow. And it's so unusual that it isn't slush.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Whidbey Island

Somehow I was able to convince D that it would be good to get out of the house on Sunday afternoon. Maybe this weekend's NFL pairings weren't that interesting or maybe the couch was getting uncomfortable? We hopped the ferry to Whidbey, had pizza in Freeland, and headed for Ebey's Landing, hoping for the promised sun breaks.

As it turned out, we couldn't even see the beach from the top of the bluff. But it's still one of the best coastal hikes on Puget Sound. Then it was off to DQ in Oak Harbor, a quick stop at the Deception Pass bridge to peer down into the darkness and the fog, and then a loop around March Point, where we got to see Venus and Jupiter and a crescent moon among the bright lights of the refineries (the clouds finally cleared). And we still made it back to Seattle for dinner at Dick's.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Qwest Field

It was a great fall afternoon for D's and my second annual pilgrimage to Qwest Field. Unfortunately it wasn't so great an afternoon for the Seahawks. The Redskins won 20-17. D reminds me that the Seahawks are on track for a pretty good draft pick, so maybe next year will be a little better. Good thing my spirits depend more on nice sunsets than on football scores.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sculpture Park

The meeting was about restoring urban shorelines and we visited the sculpture park after lunch. The sun broke through as we were preparing to leave, leaving us with a few minutes of nice light and even a full rainbow over the Space Needle.


It's nice to occasionally have a meeting downtown so I can just take the bus. I headed for the Seattle's Best Coffee at Pike and First, only to find it gone, but there's still one a block north where Post Alley meets Pine. The day started pretty gray and rainy - but it was still nice to wander through the market watching the folks set up.

Monday, October 20, 2008


A&S milked the goats, fed the chickens, and made espresso. And then we took a pleasant fall walk around the property and into town, which made for a perfect start to a day that would eventually include several donuts, lots more coffee, a fast drive to Providence, a faster train to Boston, and a long flight to Seattle.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


The weather was nice enough, and my knee limber enough, so I stuck snacks and a water bottle and some extra clothes in my pack and headed down Crawford Path toward Lake of the Clouds. I didn't have time to go quite that far, so I swung east over towards Tuckerman's Ravine. I contemplated going to the headwall and peering down, but decided against it and headed back up to the top of the mountain. The long lines of cairns seem like overkill in this kind of weather, but I remember coming up Tuckerman's one late spring during college to find heavy cold fog and having to cautiously creep from one cairn to another all the way to the summit (or the Lake of the Clouds hut - I don't remember).

Mount Washington

Okay, so I spent my childhood thumbing my nose at folks who had taken on Mount Washington by car. But the weather was perfect and my time limited, and my little Hertz Blue Cobalt was ready to go, so I spent the $20, stuck the self-guided tour CD in the player, and headed up. Good decision - and not as commercial as I had expected. Above timberline (about 4000'), the alpine terrain could almost be mistaken for the Beartooth Highway or Trail Ridge Road. The cog railway is still running, belching smoke and tourists at the top.

Mount Washington is the highest peak in the northeast, and third in the Appalachians only to Mount Mitchell (NC) and Clingman's Dome (TN). It was in the mid 20's with a gentle breeze (at least for this place).

New Hampshire

I left Brunswick Sunday morning and drove north through Auburn, Oxford Plains, and Bethel, before hitting the Dunkin Donuts in Gorham, NH. The White Mountains were spectacular, though the leaves were just a little past prime, and I managed to visit Mt. Washington and North Conway (I had time for Friendly's Ice Cream, but not Eastern Mountain Sports). Then it was the Kancamagus Highway and I-93 south to Manchester and then over to Hancock.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


I spent barely over 40 hours in Maine, but still managed to revisit plenty of old memories, eat lobster twice, and enjoy perfect fall weather. I think it's been six years since I was last here.

The pictures include the Old Orchard Pier - closed for the season. The Five Island Lobster Pound in Georgetown, where they were selling lobster for $4/critter as a benefit for lobstermen hurting from low prices, thus the long line out the door. The Celotex Plant on the Androscoggin in Lisbon Falls - it used to be U.S. Gypsum, where I worked many long graveyard shifts in 1978. Popham. And Mt. Abrams - where I broke my arm my freshman? year of high school (maybe '73?).


The Cribstone Bridge still connects Orr's and Bailey Island, although they're building a temporary span parallel to it so they can do repairs. Cook's has barely changed in the almost 50 years since I was first taught to eat lobster here. Cole slaw, steamers, and of course, a lobster (and a beer, something I didn't get as a kid). J and I used to skip stones and clamber on the rocks while we waited for the adults to finish. Or maybe the adults had sent us out to wait at the car when we got too loud or annoying.


The local paper says the town is looking to offload Hawthorne and Longfellow elementary schools - and to tear down the old high school next spring. Laverdiere's is long gone and Pizza Hut is now a check-cashing place. But some things don't change: the Bowdoin ice rink, Frosty's Donuts, and the houses up on Federal Street. Maine Street looked much the same, if you ignore the details. The base is closing and the implications aren't clear. Ground was just broken for the new train station.