Friday, April 23, 2010

A Morning in Wallingford

The lovely Marie, three years ago.
I had so much fun spending a morning in Wallingford yesterday. The synergy that you get in a comparatively dense neighborhood inspires me more than anything. Got to watch the crew for a Microsoft commercial at work across the street from my friend Marie's house. While I looked on from Marie's porch neighbor Basha strode up and proceeded to give me the most amazing headrub while the media crew looked on enviously. She's a professional masseuse who is fresh from a course on Indian head massage. Later we walked up to a three-year old grocery store (gearing up to celebrate their birthday with a big bash this weekend) which houses a fantastic deli/bakery and had a great lunch of pannini and soup while Marie's three year old ran up and down the aisles. In keeping with the bumble bee outfit he wore he was literally "abuzz" the entire time.

Here are Marie's kids with my Piper last weekend at our place.
Later her friend Anne walked in and greeted us. Now Anne is going to come talk to our newly-formed Sustainable Bellevue group about her passion, community gardens. And it turns out her husband is a McArthur fellow, which I found out because I commented on the cap she was wearing. "Dirt Matters", from a Willamette Valley winery, was emblazoned on the front. Her husband, David Montgomery, a geology prof at the UW, literally wrote the book on "Dirt"!

I hope Anne doesn't mind me posting this photo of her husband on my blog, but he is all over the internet, as I was to discover later.

Can't wait to start reading it!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Beachcombing 2

From the AP, Seattle Times, April 20

West Seattle, Washington: Garbage in stomach of dead whale includes sweatpants, golf ball, plastic bags, towels.

In a news release, scientists with the Cascadia Research Collective said the examination did not immediately determine why the 37-foot near-adult male died, but it was found to be in better nutritional condition than other gray whales that died recently...the animal had more than 50 gallons of material in its stomach.

Besides the pants and golf ball, the trash included more than 20 plastic bags, small towels, surgical gloves, plastic pieces and duct tape.

Last week I returned several times to "my beach" in Newport Hills, to pick up debris and photograph it. On my last visit I had to poke in the grass and horsetails inland to find trash--here it was all beer bottles and cans, mostly BudLite and Corona.

So when I read this article in yesterday's paper it felt personal, especially the "plastic pieces" part.

And now for the deep part, the eternal reminder: It's the little things, those of the least apparent consequence, that truly connect us to each other.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

Eastside Audubon was there, among many others:

The VFW parade:

Carol, Preston and Sean at Bellevue's Lewis Creek Earth Day-Arbor Day Celebration today:

Sammamish High's Environmental Warriors meet Bellevue's Mayor Don Davidson:

Nick, Brent and Kyla check out the pervious concrete display

The Mayor confers recognition and awards--spot the Carbon Yeti on the far left:

Happy Earth Day from Red Apple Elegy and Sustainable Bellevue!

At Pike Place Market

This guy was waiting patiently

As was this guy

And this guy

These two guys were rocking out as "Raw Corn"

And these two guys were discussing health care.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


At Newcastle Beach yesterday my eye was distracted from the gorgeous views by shiny colorful objects in the sand. I decided to start collecting them. Bottle caps, tiparillo filters, a lot of styrofoam and even a waterlogged boot. I was alone for a while, but then people became intrigued and joined me. A treasure hunt. Shiny bright colors.

It's just a little bit of beach, but now I feel like I own it. I also understand my dog's nature a bit better now--we're both just treasure hunters.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Day 2: St. Paul

"My generation of radicals and breakers-down never found anything to take the place of the old virtues of work and courage and the old graces of courtesy and politeness." F. Scott Fitzgerald, in a letter to his daughter Frances Scott "Scottie" Fitzgerald (July 1938)

Day 3: Weisman Museum (Gehry) to Guthrie Theatre (Nouvel)

Two cultural icons preside over opposite banks of the Mississippi: The Weisman Art Museum by Frank Gehry, currently in expansion mode, and the Guthrie Theatre by French Pritzker winner Jean Nouvel, upriver, in the Mill District.

Gehry's work employs the metaphors of the artist: waterfall and fish scales, reflectivity, playfulness and suits the busy multi-level intersection it marks. It teeters above the river, amid the cacophony of speeding cars below and the bustle of the student Union nearby. Bikes whiz by, separated from pedestrians.

Not only is it difficult to view because you're watching the bikes, other pedestrians, the river and its banks, but it is too close to the bridge to be regarded as you make your way across. It has to work to catch your eye, like hooking a shiny lure hooks a fish, and sometimes blinds the onlooker or oncoming driver in the process. It's aged like a bit of cheap jewelry, tarnished in spots, loose in places, and really what are those snowplow-eyelids for above the entrance doors? Does anything here serve a purpose?

In contrast, Nouvel's work sits in quiet repose, changing with great subtlety as you walk toward it, across the Stone Arch bridge. Here there was enough hydroelectric power to grind the nation's flour. A place to stop and contemplate, suited to the atmosphere of ruins, in the process of being preserved, below the waterfalls which brought Minneapolis into being. The birthplace of the Pillsbury Doughboy.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Minneapolis is an extremely walkable city. We started our first day in the center, at Nicollet Mall. We saw bicyclists and cabs, but very few cars, even in the heart of downtown. And there is a parallel universe co-existing two stories in the air: a vast series of skybridges connects all of downtown above the snowy streets in winter. Like a habitrail for humans.

Sidewalks are wi-i-i-de, and sculpture greets you at nearly every turn. There are an amazing number of plazas, fountains and restaurants have spacious outdoor seating areas.

It's Scary Mary!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

First day, Minneapolis

In Loring Park, between downtown and our destination, the Walker Art Center.

We arrived at the Walker (see photos last blog entry) 15 minutes before opening time and were kindly directed to a coffeehouse inhabiting a bit of "old Minneapolis" down the road apiece. A neighborhood known as "The Wedge" between Hennepin and Lyndale. We were so taken with this area that we never returned to the Walker (I feel bad about that, but we did wind up spending most of the afternoon in the Minneapolis Insitute of the Arts, a truly amazing place right in the neighborhood)

Walking down streets lined with Victorian houses, spreading in every direction as far as the eye could see, housing who knows how many families, each one a unique composition of window, turret, door and garden.

With mom and pop stores, cafes, and wide alleys. Friendly porches. With a variety of chairs. (To be continued)