Thursday, July 31, 2008

Washington Farmers Markets

One of my pet peeves about where I live in North Texas is there is not the bounty of fresh produce, grown locally, that I was used to all my life prior to Texas, living in Washington.

Fort Worth will call the littlest, lamest thing a Farmers Market. It's just sort of embarrassing. Just in Tacoma there are several Farmers Markets. Just today downtown had its weekly Farmers Market, to which my Mom and Dad and Kristin went, buying way too many berries, which I can smell being turned into jam even as I type.

Anyway, below is a list of Washington's Farmers Market, complete with all the info you'd need to find it.

Airway Heights Farmers Market
13100 W 14th Ave, Hwy 2 @ Lawson
Friday, 9am-1pm, June 6-October 10
Lori Musgrave (509) 235-6707

Anacortes Farmers Market
Depot Arts Center @ 7th & R Avenue
Saturday, 9am-2pm, May 17-October 10, Nov. 8 and Nov. 22
Keri Knapp (360) 293-7922

Bainbridge Island Farmers Market-
Eagle Harbor Church105 Winslow Way and Madison
Saturday, 10am-3pm, November 17-December 22
Susan Anemone 206-855-1500

Bainbridge Island Farmers Market -
Market SquareMarket Town Square @ 208 Madison &Winslow Way
Saturday, 9am-1pm, April 12-October 18 Eagle Harbor Church @ 105 Winslow Way & MadisonSaturday 10am-3pm, November 20-December 22
Susan Anemone 206-855-1500

Battle Ground - Old Town Saturday Market
SE 2nd Ave. & East Main in Old Town
Saturday, 9am-3pm, April 12-October 18
Brenda Stanton, 360-576-9767

Bayview Farmers Market
SR 525 and Bayview
Saturday, 10am-2pm, April 26-October 25
Michael Yocco (360) 321-2585

Bellevue - Crossroads Farmers Market
156th Ave NE & NE 8th (Crossroads Bellevue parking lot)
Tuesday, Noon-5pm, May 27-October 7, 2008
Grant Davidson (425) 485-1042

Bellevue Farmers Market
1717 Bellevue Way NE (parking lot at First Presbyterian Church)
Thursday, 3pm-7pm, May 15-October 9
Lori Taylor (425) 454-8474

Bellingham Farmers Market –
DowntownRailroad & Chestnut
Saturday, 10am-3pm, April through ChristmasFairhaven Village Green (behind Village Books) Wednesday, 3pm-7pm June 4-September 24
Robin Crowder (360) 647-2060

Bellingham Farmers Market –
FairhavenFairhaven Village Green (behind Village Books)
Wednesday, 3-7pm June 6-September 26
Robin Crowder (360) 647-2060

Bothell Farmers Market at Country Village
238th & Bothell-Everett Hwy (SR 527)
Friday, Noon-6pm, June 6-September 26
Nancy Stoll (425) 483-2250 ext.3

Bremerton Farmers Market
1318 Park Ave @ Seaside Church
Thursdays, 4pm-7:30pm May 15-October 9
Tiffany Royal (360) 621-5934

Bridgeport Farmers MarketFireman’s Park
(10th and Columbia)
Friday, 8:30am-12:30pm, June 20-mid-October
Verla Groenveld (509) 686-3875

Burien Farmers Market
SW 152nd Street between 2nd SW & 6th SW
Thursday, 11am-6pm, May 8-October 9
Debra George (206) 941-7199

Camas Farmers Market
5th Street between Birch and Cedar
Saturday, 9am-1pm, May 17-October 4
Carren Senn Walker360-838-1032

Carnation Farmers Market
SR 203-Tolt Avenue & Bird Street
Tuesday, 3pm-7pm, May 13-September 30
Heidi Bohan (425) 333 6050

Cashmere–Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market
Riverside Park in Cashmere
Friday, 9am-1pm, July 11-September 26
Julie Mitchell (509) 668-0497

Centralia – Lewis County Farmers Market
Pine & Tower
Friday, 9am-3pm, May 2-September 12
Derrill Outland (360) 736-8977

Chehalis – Community Farmers Market
Boistfort Street
Tuesdays, Noon-5pm, June 10-October 21
Brenda Book (360) 880-9546

Chelan- Lake Chelan Valley Farmers Market
Johnson & Columbia (Chamber parking lot)
Saturday, 8am-1pm, June 7-October 25
Zachary Robertson (509) 679-4194

Cheney - Friday Farmers Market
1st & College
Friday, 11am-4:30pm, May 18-October 26
Rhonda Elliott (509) 559-5818

Colville – NE Washington Farmers Market
Corner of Main & Astor
Saturday, 8:30am-1pm, May 5-October 27
Sheryl McKee (509) 684-3306

Colville Farmers Market
Oak St & 3rd Ave
Wednesday, Noon-6pm June 4-October 22
John Smith (509) 684-4404

Coupeville Farmers Market
Alexander and 8th Street
Saturday, 10am-2pm, April 5-October 11
Peg Tennant (360) 678-4288

Des Moines Waterfront Farmers Market
South End of the Des Moines Marina
Saturday, 10am-2pm, June 7-October 25
Rikki Marohl (206) 310-8040

Duvall Farmers Market
1st and Stella Street
Thursday, 3pm-7pm, June 5-October 2
Laurie Gilbertson (425) 788-1185 ext 402

Orcas Island/East Sound Farmers Market
Eastsound Village Green (just north of the Historical Museum)
Saturday, 10am-3pm, May 3-September 27
Julie Miller (360) 376-4594

Edmonds Museum Farmers Market
5th Ave N & Bell Street
Saturday, 9am-3pm, May 3- June 28 and July 5-October 4
Jerry Freeland (425)

Ellensburg – Kittitas County Farmers Market
4th Avenue between Pearl & Pine
Saturday, 9am-1pm, May 3-October 25
Pam Grueter-Schmidt (509) 899-3870

Ephrata Farmers Market
Sun Basin Plaza on Basin St
Saturday, 8am-Noon, June 14—October 25
Trish Hooper (509) 771-0383

Everett Farmers Market
1600 W Marine View Drive at 16th Street
Sunday, 11am-4pm, June 1-September 28
Tone Hutton (425) 258-3356

Friday Harbor – San Juan Farmers Market
Courthouse parking lot @ 2nd & Blair
Saturday, 10am-1pm, April 26-October 25
Jane Burton-Bell (360) 378-237

Gig Harbor Farmers Market
Kimball Drive Park N Ride
Saturday, 8:30am-2pm, April 5-September 27
Dale Schultz, Chairman (253) 208-6296

Gig Harbor Wednesday Farmers Market
Skansie Brothers Park (Downtown Gig Harbor on the Water)
Wednesday, 11am-4pm, June 4 - Aug 27
Dale Schultz, Chairman (253) 208-6296

Goldendale Saturday Market
Vern Markee Park at 903 E Broadway
Saturday, 9am-2pm, May 12-October 13
Earlene Sullivan (509) 773-7030

Ilwaco – Saturday Market
at The Port of IlwacoWaterfront Way
Saturday, 10am-3pm, May 3-September 27 Normandie Hand (360) 783-1143

Kelso Bridge Market
Allen Street & Pacific Avenue (under the Allen Street Bridge)
Sunday, 10am-3pm, May 6-September 30
Betty Erickson (360) 957-2515

Kennewick Farmers Market
Kennewick Avenue & Auburn Street
Thursday, 4pm-8pm, June 7-October 25
Ann Steiger (509) 585-2301

Kent Farmers Market
2nd and Harrison Streets
Saturday, 9am-2pm, June7-September 27
Bill and Linda Westcott (253) 486-9316

Key Peninsula Farmers Market
Corner of Key Peninsula Highway N and Olson St. in Key Center
Sunday, 12pm-4pm, June 22-September 28Tara Froode (253) 884-6350

Kingston Farmers Market
Port of Kingston Marina Park
Saturday, 9am-2:30pm, April 19-October 11
Clinton Dudley (360) 297-7683

Kirkland – Friday Night Market
at Juanita BeachJuanita Beach Park at 116th and 100th
Friday, 3pm-7pm, May 30-October 10
Sudie Elkayassi (425) 587-3347

Kirkland Wednesday Market
Park Lane East between 3rd & Main
Wednesday, 2pm-7pm, May 7-October 15
Jodi Bardinelli, Director (425) -893-8766

Lake Forest Park- Third Place Commons Farmers Market
Bothell Way NE & Hwy 104 Sunday, 11am-4pm, May 11 October 5
Grant Davidson (425) 485-1042

Langley – South Whidbey Tilth Farmers Market
Hwy 525 at Thompson Road
Saturday, 10am-2pm, May 3-October 25 Wednesday, 4pm- 6pm, June 18-September 3
Elizabeth Case-Smith (360) 320-0685

Leavenworth – Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market
Lions Park on Route 2 Tuesday, 9am-1pm, June 18-October (weather dependent)
Julie Mitchell (509) 668-0497

Longview – Cowlitz County Community Farmers Market
Cowlitz County Fairgrounds at 7th & New York
Tuesday and Saturday, 9am-2pm, April-OctoberTerrence Miracle (360) 425-1297

Mercer Island Farmers Market
SE 32nd Avenue @ Mercerdale Park (between 77th & 78th Ave S)
Sunday, 11am-3pm, August 10-October 12Callie Ridolfi (206) 403-8188

Millwood Community Farmers Market
Millwood Presbyterian Church (Knox & Marguerite)
Wednesday, 3pm-7pm, May 23-October 28
Craig Goodwin (509) 924-2350

Monroe Farmers Market
200 block East Main Street, back parking lot
Tuesday, 2-7pm, June 3-September
Lynn Gose (360) 794-4926

Mount Vernon Farmers Market
Downtown Mount Vernon
Saturday, 9am-1pm, May 31-October 11
Ron Farrell (360) 292-2648

Mount Vernon Farmers Market
Skagit Valley Hospital at 1415 E Kincaid
Wednesday, 2:30- 5:30pm, June 4-September 24
Ron Farrell (360) 292-2648

Mukilteo Farmers Market
Rosehill Community Center at 3rd & Lincoln
Wednesday, 3pm-7pm, June 4-September 24
Cherri Paul (425) 418-6064

Newport – Pend Oreille Valley Farmers Market
3rd between Union and Washington
Saturday, 9am-1pm, May 3- November 1
Nephi White (509) 447-5470

Oak Harbor Public Market
Hwy 20 next to Visitor Center
Thursday, 4pm-7pm, May 24-September 27
Peg Tennant (360) 678-4288

Okanogan Valley Farmers Market
American Legion Park
Saturday, 9am-1pm, May–OctoberStephanie Clark (509) 826-1259

Olympia Farmers Market
Capitol Way & Market Street
Thursday-Sunday, 10am-3pm April-December (Saturday & Sunday only in November & December)
Charlie Haney (360) 352-9096

Omak – Okanogan Valley Farmers Market
Civic League Park at Central & Ash Streets
Tuesday, 3pm-7pm, June 5-October 30

Thanksgiving Market
Okanogan Grange, Tyee and 2nd2nd
Saturday in November
Debbie Mayberry (509) 826-5845

Othello Farmers Market
Pioneer Park at 3rd & Main
Saturday, 8am-Noon, June- mid-October
Ann Sperl (509) 488-5700

Pasco Farmers Market
4th & Columbia
Wednesday & Saturday, 8am-Noon, May 5-October 27
Mike Somerville (509) 531-7274

Port Angeles Farmers Market
Courthouse Parking Lot (4th and Peabody)
Saturday, 10am-2pm, All Year
Karen Bert (360) 928-0214

Port Angeles Farmers Market
location unknown at this time
Wednesday 3pm-6:30pm, June 18-October 1
Karen Bert (360) 928-0214

Port Orchard Farmers Market
Harrison and Bay Street (June 30 at Bay Street & Fredrick Street)
April 28-October 13
Pam Moyer (360) 275-7105

Port Townsend - Jefferson County Farmers Market
Location 1Uptown on Tyler & Lawrence
Saturday, 9:30am-1:30pm, May 3-November 15 (except May 17)
Wendie Dyson (360) 379-9098

Port Townsend -Jefferson County Farmers Market Location 2
Uptown on Polk & Lawrence
Wednesday, 3:30pm-6:30pm, June 11-September 24
Wendie Dyson (360) 379-9098

Poulsbo Farmers Market
7th Avenue & Iverson (Poulsbo Village Medical/Dental Center)
Saturday, 9am-1pm, April 12-October 11
Jackie Aitchison (360) 779-6720

Prosser Farmers Market
Prosser City Park at 7th Street & Sommer Avenue
Saturday, 8am-Noon, May 3-October 25
Linda Hall (509) 786-9174

Puyallup Farmers Market
Pioneer Park & Pavilion at Meridian & 4th Avenue SW
Saturday, 9am-2pm, May 3-October 25 Sunday, 10am-2pm, May 4- August 31
Janie Morris (253) 840-2631

Raymond – Public Market
on the Willapa4th & Heath
Friday & Saturday 10am-5pm, Year round
Carol Dunsmoor (360) 942-2123

Renton Farmers Market
S 3rd Street between Logan & Burnett
Tuesday, 3pm-7pm, June 3-September 16
Linda Middlebrooks (423) 679-1502

Richland – Market at the Parkway
The Parkway on Lee Blvd
Friday, 9am-1pm, June 6-September 26
Tara Erben (509) 946-3349

Roslyn Sunday Market
Pennsylvania Ave @ 1st St (SR 903)
Sunday, 10am-2pm, June 15-September 7
Jonine Collins (509) 649-2695

Sammamish Farmers Market
Next to city hall at NE 8th and 228th in Sammamish
Wednesday, 4pm-8pm, May 21-Oct 1
Heidi Bohan, 425-681-5541

Seattle – Ballard Farmers Market
Ballard Avenue NW between 20th NW & 22nd NW
Sunday, 10am-4pm (Winter 11am-3pm) All Year
Judy Kirkhuff (206) 782-2286

Seattle – Broadway Sunday Farmers Market
Broadway & E Thomas
Sunday, 11am-3pm, May 11–November 23
Chris Curtis (206) 547-2278

Seattle – Columbia City Farmers Market
4801 Rainier Avenue S at Edmunds Street
Wednesday, 3pm-7pm, April 30–October 22
Chris Curtis (206) 547-2278

Seattle – Lake City Farmers Market
Albert Davis Park at 125th & 28th Ave. NE
Thursday, 3pm-7pm, June June 5–October 16
Chris Curtis (206) 547-2278

Seattle – Madrona Farmers Market
East Union and MLK Jr. Way
Friday, 3pm-7pm, May 4-September 28
Judy Kirkhuff (206) 782-2286

Seattle – Magnolia Farmers Market
Magnolia Community Center, 2550 34th Avenue W
Saturday, 10am-2pm June 7–October 25
Chris Curtis (206) 547-2278

Seattle - Phinney Farmers Market
Phinney Neighborhood Center (67th and Phinney Ave N)
Friday, 3pm-7pm, May 16-October 3
Chris Curtis (206) 547-2278

Seattle – Pike Place Market
Pike Place between Pike Street & Virginia Street
Monday-Sunday 9am-6pm, Year Round
Noa O’Hare, Farm Program Manager (206) 774-5320

Seattle – Queen Anne Farmers Market
Queen Anne Community Center (1st Ave N and Crockett St)
Thursday, 3pm-7pm, June 14-September 27
Judy Kirkhuff (206) 782-2286

Seattle – University District Farmers Market
NE 50th Street & University Way NE
Saturday, 9am-2pm, Year RoundChris Curtis (206) 547-2278

Seattle- Wallingford Farmers Market
North 45th and Wallingford Ave
Wednesday, 3pm-7pm, May 16-September 26
Judy Kirkhuff (206) 782-2286

Seattle – West Seattle Farmers Market
California Avenue SW & SW Alaska
Sunday, 10am-2pm, Year Round
Chris Curtis (206) 547-2278

SeaTac Sunday Farmers Market
SeaTac City Hall parking lot (corner of So 188th St & Military Road So, off I-5)
Sunday, 11am-3pm, June 15–September 14
Trudy Olson (206) 973-4763

Sedro Woolley Farmers Market
Hammer Heritage Square (Ferry and Metcalf)
Wednesday, 3pm-7pm, June-mid-October
Gilda Gorr (360) 724-3835

Shelton Farmers Market
3rd Street between Cedar & Franklin
Saturday, 9am-2pm, May-September
Brittany Pouch (360) 426-6693

Silverdale – Peninsula Farmers Market
Silverdale Beach Hotel (Bucklin Hill Road)
Tuesday, 11am-4pm, April 22-September 30
Monica Phillips (360) 830-9565

Snohomish Farmers Market
Carnegie parking lot on Cedar between 1st & Pearl St
Thursday, 3pm-8pm, May 1-September 25Neil Landaas (360) 862-9087

Spokane - Humble Earth Farmers Market
10505 NewportSunday, 10am-3pm, May 25-October 30
Christina Mitma (509) 230-8778

Spokane - Liberty Lake Farmers Market
1421 N Meadowwood (Liberty Square parking lot)
Saturday, 9am-1pm, May 17-October 11
Angela Pizelo (509) 879-4965

Spokane - South Perry Farmers Market
1317 East 12th
Thursday, 3pm-7pm, June 5-September 25
Christina Mitma (509) 876-2987

Spokane – Spokane Farmers Market
2nd Ave (between Division and Browne)
Wednesday, 8am-1pm, June 4-October 29
Saturday, 8am-1pm, May 10-October 25
Market Manager (509) 995-0182

Tacoma Farmers Market
Broadway between 9th & 11th
Thursday, 9am-2pm, May 15-October 16
Laura Kelsay Edwards (253) 272-7077

Tacoma - 6th Ave Farmers Market
Corner of 6th & Pine
Tuesdays, 3:30pm-7:30pm, July 15–Sept 30
Heather Hanson (253) 376-5845

Tacoma – Proctor Farmers Market
N 27th Street at Proctor
Saturday, 9am-2pm, April 26-November 1
Jessica Troy (253) 961-3666 and Felicity Devlin (253) 761-8066

Tenino Farmers Market
Old Highway 99 and Garfield Ave E
Saturday, 10am-3pm, June 7-September 6
Paul Donohue (360) 264-2002

Tumwater Town Center Farmers Market
SW corner of Capitol Blvd and Israel Rd
Wednesday, 11am-2pm, May 28-October 29
Ione Vrabel (360) 464-5879

Vashon Farmers Market
Vashon Hwy & Bank Road
Saturday, 10am-2pm, Year round Wednesday, 2pm-5pm, July 16-October 15 Holiday Markets Nov 17, Dec 1 and Dec 8
Joanne Jewell (206) 463-3518

Walla Walla Farmers Market
City Hall Parking Lot (4th & Main)
Saturday and Sunday, 9am-1pm, May-October
Beth-Aimee McGuire (509) 520-3647

Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market
Columbia Street between First and Palouse Street, downtown (new location)
Wednesday, 8am-1pm, June 18-October
Saturday, 8am-1pm, May 10-October; Sunday, 9am-1pm after Labor Day
Sunday Market, 9am-1pm, July-SeptemberParking lot behind Applewood Grill off Columbia Street (new location)
Julie Mitchell (509) 668-0497

Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market
Thursday "Mercado", Methow Park @ Spokane & Methow
Thursday 3 to 7, July-OctoberWillie Getz, 509-996-2747

Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market
City parking lot between the base of First Street and Palouse Street on Columbia Street
Thursday 3pm-7pm, June-OctoberJulie Mitchell (509) 668-0497

Woodinville Farmers Market
Woodinville Village (Hwy 202 and Woodinville-Redmond Rd)
Saturday, 9am-3pm, May 3-October 11
Grant Davidson (425) 485-1042

Yakima Farmers Market
S 3rd Street at Yakima Avenue (in front of Capitol Theatre)
Sunday, 9am-3pm, May 11-October 26Don Eastridge (509) 457-5765

Tacoma Stress Reduction

This last day of July my seasonally affected disorder has kicked into overdrive. I did get a brief respite, this afternoon, for a few minutes, when the temperature seemed to soar into the high 70s.

This morning I went to Lulu's where I was drafted to go to a crazy man's house to lift a big heavy wooden thing into the back of Lulu's Volvo. This resulted in multiple little pin=prick blood releasing wounds that forced me to use one of Lulu's linens to wrap around my hands to soak up the blood. It looked like a bad scene from a bad horror movie.

As if I needed any fresh aggravation, what with everything crashing down around me. I'm feeling like Hitler stuck in his Berlin bunker with the Soviets bearing down on him. Yes. I am under siege from multiple fronts.

My stressed induced cortisol levels were reaching the danger zone this afternoon. I needed to get some quick endorphins to hopefully hold off a stroke or heart attack. So, I went to Point Defiance. I ran up the trails, like a dog chasing a squirrel. Up and down I went.

After I'd worn myself out I went to the adjacent Tacoma Marina. The Mountain was partly out. It is hard to see, in a photo due, to The Mountain being snow covered and thus looking like clouds. Everything here looks like clouds.

The air smelled good, the saltwater smelled good, I was absorbing the positive energy of negative ions. I started feeling better, my stress level was somewhat abated.

And then I got back here to find my mom and dad in the kitchen in yet one more of their ongoing cooking projects. This time it seems to be marionberry jam and roast beef. My mother seems to be being grumpy. It's too early to put them on their medication. I don't think it's too early to put me on mine. But I've none available.

Washington's Governor, Chris Gregoire, Not Old Enough For Liquor

As if any additional proof that the Pacific Northwest's moist climate youthifies those who live here, the governor of Washington, 61 year old Chris Gregoire, governor by benefit of winning one of the closest gubernatorial races in history, with multiple recounts, was recently denied being able to order a beer due to the governor not having I.D. showing that she was over 21.

The governor had been serving burgers at some annual event in Olympia. Afterwards, to celebrate a successful completion of the burger task, the governor and a group, including her husband, decided to go to an Olympia bar named Hannah's.

The bouncer at the entry demanded to see the governor's I.D. When she could not produce one, several in her entourage pointed out to the 23 year old bouncer that this was the governor of Washington. This information did not persuade the bouncer to let the governor in for her pitcher or two of beer.

Hannah's owner, Todd Ruzicka, said it's apparent the bouncer needs some more training.

In the meantime, Governor Gregoire feels quite complimented that a 23 year old guy thinks she looks younger than 21. I know how she feels. Happens to me all the time.

Text Messaging Ban

I read this morning that some places in Washington are considering putting restrictions on cell phone text messaging. Cell phone usage while driving is already a major crime here. So far, I'm fairly certain you can't get thrown into the slammer for text messaging.

Apparently there have been incidents where pedestrians in Washington have been walking along, texting, and have walked out into traffic. I do not know how many injuries or deaths have occurred due to this.

A text message ban would hit my dad hard. He text messages all the time. Mom and dad got back here last night. After some Swiss cheese controversy my mom and dad were given a medicinal dose of blackberry wine. The photo is about 10 minutes after mom and dad took their medicine. Mom is falling asleep and dad is busy text messaging.

I don't know how to text message. I get text messages. But I do not know how to send one. I don't want to learn how to send a text message. I'm impressed, amazed and sort of appalled that my dad, age 70-something, knows how to text message.

It's sort of amusing. My dad's phone will make a noise and he'll go "I've got a text message." He then reads it and then starts working the phone with his thumbs, like a teenager.

As techo-proficient as my dad may be, he and mom messed up the flat panel TV last night, rendering them unable to watch a Mariner game til my sister switched the controller back to cable mode. Either mom or dad, or maybe both, somehow put the TV in antennae mode. It was quite traumatic here until we were able to get that Seattle Mariner game back on. I think Texas beat them, again, but I'm not sure.

Swiss Cheese & Other Crimes Against Humanity

I'm starting Day 11 in Washington. My life continues to spin out of control, in two states at once. It's like I'm living my worst nightmare and I can't wake up.

I make mistake after mistake here. As a result I've been turned into the house Monkey Boy, doing the bidding of all who inhabit these walls. Including the two poodles, Blue & Max.

A couple days ago a coffee disaster erupted when I was caught using my sister's special coffee cup. I was banned from its usage.

Then I drank too much coffee. And so yesterday a new coffee pot was purchased that has been designated "Monkey Boy's Coffee Pot."

Last week I forgot to take in the milk immediately upon delivery. That's right, here in Washington you can still get milk delivered to your door. It is delivered to a white heat reflective (if there was heat) box. There has been much controversy spinning over the fact that I did not bring in the milk within an hour of delivery. My position is that it is colder outside than in the refrigerator. I really don't see why they have refrigerators in this ultra-frigid climate.

When my mom and dad arrived, a week ago, my mom loaded the already packed refrigerator with more stuff. Including, I now know, some Swiss cheese they'd bought at the Tillamook Cheese factory on the Oregon coast.

Apparently, unbeknownst to any of us, my mom had declared one shelf of the fridge as her own. Yesterday my sister organized the fridge, totally obliterating my mom's shelf and moving the Swiss cheese to the cheese bin.

Yesterday, I made myself a steak sandwich for lunch. I saw the Swiss cheese and opened up the package and added a couple slices to the sandwich.

When my mom and dad returned last night and my mom saw we were in a kitchen frenzy, getting ready to BBQ, she checked the fridge, saw her shelf gone and asked where her special Swiss cheese was. I was the only one who knew of the Swiss cheese. And its fate.

When I confessed to cutting into the Swiss cheese my mom claimed that she'd clearly stated this was not to be touched, that it was to return, cheese intacto, to Phoenix.

My sister tried to calm the storm by saying we saw the same cheese at Top Foods that very day. And that we'd replace the damaged Swiss cheese. But that did not do much to mitigate the storm. Eventually my mom resigned herself to the fact that her Swiss cheese had been ruined beyond repair. My sister then said something like, Monkey Boy, go pour mom and dad a glass of blackberry wine.

I've likely already blocked from memory some of the other horrors I've caused these people. Like I parked my sister's car too close to her driveway's humongous rosemary bush, thus causing her to touch the bush upon car entry, thus causing her to reek of rosemary all day long.

My worst crime occurred yesterday morning. I'll spare the graphic details. Suffice to say, I went to my zone to do yoga. I do yoga sans clothes. Unbeknownst to me, one of the inhabitants was in this floor's bathroom. She was up here to take a shower. Why I do not know. At some point, to our mutual horror we realized we were both in the same space. In varying degrees of undress.

In other words, I'm sleeping well, but I'm pretty much in a perpetual state of low level trauma.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Advance Your Business Skills in the Gas Industry

Why would anyone who spent 2 seconds looking at my blog send me the below ad? I really can't see myself going to the Petroleum Club in Fort Worth to advance my business skills in the oil/gas industry. I think free lunch was involved, I believe I saw that mentioned in the full ad. I'm all about getting stuff for free. Maybe I'll go to this thing.........

Recycling in Washington Ordeals

We recycle in Washington. I get reminded of this over and over and over again every time I'm back here, after committing some massive recycling faux pas.

Yesterday I put an empty milk carton in the regular garbage. This got me 5 Bad Recycler Demerits. This morning I emptied a peanut butter jar and put it in the regular garbage. 5 more Demerits.

It's all so confusing. Way more so than when I lived here. Then there was just one bin for newspapers and one bin for plastics and glass and one bin for normal garbage.

I'm not sure I'm all that clear on it yet, even after 10 days of trying to keep it all straight. Near as I can tell there is one big container for paper products, like newspapers and magazines. Another big container for yard waste, like grass clippings that could just stay on the grass after being clipped. That would seem a good recycling plan for grass. Then there is a big bin for bottles. I am not sure if the plastic bottles are separated from the glass ones or not.

I do know that my sister thoroughly examined the glass bin to make sure there were no illegal substances in there. Like used wine bottles.

I have been accused, at least twice, of putting bad stuff in the regular garbage. Apparently if you put a bottle in the regular garbage you can be arrested, fined and forced to do garbage pickup duty in parks and freeway medians.

The various bins get picked up on various days. This makes it even more confusing.

One strange thing is the regular garbage can is by far the smallest of all the bins. And it sits out in the alley where it gets picked up. The recycled stuff goes out on the street where it must be properly located in a correct position so it can be picked up by the auto-recycle bin picker upper thing. It's quite a feat of engineering.

In grocery stores you get asked that paper or plastic question and are greeted with scornful looks if you say you don't care.

There is a lot of eco-friendly packaging here. And novel ways to skip putting something in a bag. Like today at Target my sister bought something in a big box. The cashier attached some sort of tape thing to the box that functioned as a handle. It seemed very clever. But I had concerns about the use of plastic to make the handle.

Texas for the most part has a much simpler recycling method. The litter just gets tossed so that Mother Nature can use wind to recycle it to a new location.

Enough whining about recycling. Don't get me started on the ban here on talking on the cell phone while driving. It is just all to much to have to remember.

Just Say WHOA! In Fort Worth

What are you doing August 7, 2008?

If you are frustrated, angry, depressed, apathetic, horrified or just generally concerned about natural gas drilling in north Texas, mark your calendar, program your Blackberry, scribble a post-it-note, tie a string around your big toe, whatever, just be sure you show up for this important event.

It doesn't matter where you live.

It doesn't matter if you are for or against gas drilling, in general.

It doesn't matter if you signed a mineral lease or not.

It doesn't matter if you Just Said YES or continue to Just Say NO.

Elected officials continue to issue drilling permits without all the facts or a master plan for dealing with an aggressive industry.

The health and safety of our communities has been compromised.

CREDO (Coalition for a Reformed Drilling Ordinance) is the "big tent" for everyone who wants to put the brakes on out-of-control gas drilling and the corrupt political system that has allowed it to flourish in our communities.

We believe in the military doctrine called The First Rule of Holes: If you find yourself stuck in one, stop digging.


See the "Metropolis" section of today's Fort Worth Weekly for more about CREDO and other gas drilling reports.

Don Young
P.O. Box 470041
Fort Worth, TX 76147

Yesterday's Rainy Tacoma BBQ

The photo is from last night's rainy BBQ. I somehow managed to burn the steaks. In the rain.

Lulu and her first husband came over. They ate their burned steak without too much complaining. My sister would not take her burnt steak off the steak platter.

The steaks got overly well done due to my attention being diverted by my pizza making. The pizza turned out well. Though a bit deconstructed.

The dinner party turned even more macabre when Lulu took a huge fancy to the popcorn cake my mom made for my sister. The popcorn cake has gummy bears and M & M's stuck in it. Among other things.

The other dessert item my mom also made. Angel food cake with some sorta cream cheese frosting. That was good and I understood Lulu finishing up that cake. But the popcorn cake? That thing is just disturbing.

Gar the Fish in Texas

I know a Texan named after a fish that I thought was a Texas only thing, that being Gar the Fish and the Texan being Gar the Texan.

Both Gar the Fish and Gar the Texan look like somehow a big snake had mated with an alligator creating a very scary looking mutant.

I think the actual name of Gar the Fish is Alligator Gar. I think the actual name of Gar the Texan is Garland the Texan. Maybe he is named after the Dallas suburb of Garland and not the fish.

That is a guy named Tom Wingstad, from a Texas town named Draper, in the photo. Earlier this month he caught the Alligator Gar you see in the photo. He caught it in the Trinity River that flows through the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and my backyard. It took Mr. Wingstad 25 minutes to land the 200 pound monster estimated to be about 50 years old.

I have only seen an Alligator Gar once. At a creek crossing at Village Creek Historical Area in Arlington. I was roller blading, ahead of me, on a creek crossing, I saw a guy looking at something. So, I stopped and asked what he was looking at.

He pointed to the creek and said something like, "on this side I'm looking at a big Garfish and on that side I'm keeping my eye on a big Cottonmouth."

I looked at the Garfish first. I'd never seen anything like it before. I was appalled when the guy told me that Garfish are in a lot of Texas lakes.

And then I looked at the Cottonmouth. It was slithering towards us. Both of us decided it was time to stop gawking at critters and move along.

A couple weeks after that I was mountain biking at trails at Lake Grapevine called Horseshoe. I coasted out on a dock where there were a couple of bikinied sunbathers. They told me a few days earlier one of their friends had stepped on to the teeth of an open-mouthed Garfish. A quick visit to an Emergency Room followed.

So, I went from not knowing this critter existed, seeing my first one and then hearing an account of someone stepping on a Garfish, within a couple weeks. I stayed out of Texas lakes for a long time after the Garfish revelation.

And then this morning I read that a garfish has been caught in Kiwanis Lake in Tempe, Arizona. Garfish do not belong in Arizona. They can cause all sorts of problem to a lake's ecosystem. So, Arizona Fish and Game officials are on the case.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Roe vs. Wade & The Smithsonian Institution

I guess due to it happening so seldom, there are few things I enjoy more than someone telling me something I did not know. In the past 48 hours this phenomenon has happened twice.

On the way back from the airport, picking up my sister on her return from D.C., she was telling me about all the stuff they'd seen, including the Smithsonian. She asked if I knew why it was called the Smithsonian and I realized I had no idea. Nor had she til she was in D.C.

A wealthy Brit scientist named James Smithson, admirer of America and it's promise of bringing a bright different new future to the world, died in 1829. His will stated that should his nephew not produce an heir, that his entire fortune should go to the U.S. government to create an "Establishment for the increase & diffusion of Knowledge among men." The nephew died in 1835, with no heir. President Andrew Jackson told Congress that the U.S. had received a windfall (worth millions in today's dollars}. Congress passed an act that established the Smithsonian Institution in 1846, during the Polk administration. The Smithsonian has grown to be the largest museum in the world. All thanks to a Brit who never saw America. But, apparently, got what America meant to the world. And still does.

And now the second bit of new info. For how long have we heard the phrase "Roe vs. Wade?" Decades, it seems to me. Well, this morning I was reading the online version of my old hometown paper, the Skagit Valley Herald.

And what do I learn? That the "Wade" part of Roe vs. Wade is yet one more Texas embarrassment to the rest of the county. The Wade in this famous Supreme Court decision is Henry Wade. A good ol' Dallas boy. A prosecutor, who during his tenure earned a rep as having an astonishingly high conviction rate.

Including prosecuting Jack Ruby.

And then a Dallas woman, known to history as "Roe" wanted to get an abortion. In Texas. The rest is history.

With a sad addendum.

Henry Wade retired, reputation intact. He died. Reputation intact.

But now, in the era of DNA testing court reversals, Henry Wade has had 19 of his convictions overturned. The evidence now shows that he zealously prosecuted, well, what amounts to being victims, putting who knows how may innocent people behind bars.

The process of releasing the innocent victims of Henry Wade continues.

While the rest of the nation is growing aware that Texas put a lot of people, wrongly, behind bars, that realization is not really dawning all that brightly in Texas quite yet.

In other words, I had to read about Henry Wade in my old small town newspaper. I did not read about Henry Wade in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Or the Dallas Morning News.

Meanwhile, the innocent victims of malicious prosecutions are gradually being released from the Texas Gulag. This is an issue to me. I have known a victim of malicious prosecution. And it shocked me then and continues to shock me now. And, as God is my witness, someday I will figure out a way to bitch slap back those who perpetrated a malicious prosecution mis-carriage of justice on a friend of mine.

That which you do to the least among you, you do unto me, I always say. When I am in Jesus Durango mode, that is.

Raining, Cold & Gray Tacoma July Day

I tell non-Washingtonians, who think it rains all the time here, that they are wrong. that summers are usually quite nice.

The last summer I was here for a month, July/August 2004, I saw no rain, I saw few clouds, I saw The Mountain out pretty much every day. I was not cold once I got past the first few days of getting used to it being in the 70s.

I'd settle for the 70s right about now. I'd been staying in the basement here. or what I call The Arctic. Last night I moved to the upper loft, what I call The Tropics. My sister thinks it is too hot to live up here. However, the temperature has yet to get as high as I keep my A/C in Texas. Right now the thermometer on the A/C unit, in here, says it is 68. At 2 pm. While I see you in Fort Worth are at 96 heading to a high of 102.

We got in the low 50s overnight here. And this morning, to add wet to cold, it started raining. It's been raining ever since. Rain here does not fall like Texas rain. Texas rain comes in downpours and gets its wet business over quickly, sometimes dumping 5 inches in a half hour. In Washington the rain falls in slow motion. It can take 5 hours to dump half an inch.

So, I am quickly developing a case of Seasonally Affected Disorder. As you can see in the photo, this weather disorder has piled on top of all the other things bothering me and has me being a depressed, bed-ridden nutcase, trying to stay warm in my new little army cot that I fell out of twice last night. But slept remarkably well in. It was the tropics, afterall.

Mom and dad have gone til tomorrow. Or so we've been led to believe. Tonight we are making homemade pizza and BBQing steak. Rain permitting. I'm hoping between the pizza oven and the BBQ, I will at some point today feel some heat. I guess I could go take a hot shower. But that is sort of counter-productive, when you're done you have to step back out into the icy icy air.

This is the first time I've ever been back up here when I've thought to myself the following stunning thought. I miss Texas.

Doonesbury & the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

You may remember me mentioning that I am up in Tacoma. And that I'm reading the daily Tacoma News Tribune. And that the News Tribune and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram are both part of the same newspaper chain, that being McClatchy.

You may also remember me mentioning that the Star-Telegram has been shrinking, ever smaller, for quite some time, with fewer and fewer features and columnists.

Both of these papers have the Doonesbury strip on their editorial pages. When the Star-Telegram had its most recent makeover they shrunk Doonesbury so small you needed a magnifying glass to read it. After readers complained, Doonesbury was made a bit bigger. But it is still hard to read. Sometimes I have to get it under bright light to be able to read it.

So, one would think that the Tacoma News Tribune would have a similar itsy bitsy version of Doonesbury. You would be wrong. It is about twice the size of the Star-Telegram version, I can read it without my reading glasses in natural light.

I think this incompetently sized Star-Telegram version of Doonesbury is a perfect metaphor for what is wrong with Fort Worth's bad newspaper of record, what with their apparent 'Readers Be Damned" editorial philosophy.

To read Doonesbury in all its glory, go here.

Hugh Hefner's Girls Next Door

You may remember me mentioning, yesterday, that I'd not watched TV for over a week and I was not missing it.

Well. Last night I was in my new living space, in what we call The Tropics, due to me being now on the top floor, where, supposedly, it is Hotter than the frigid zone, down in The Arctic, aka the basement. Though it was not quite tropical, as in I had to shut the windows due to it getting chilly, it was much closer to what I'm used to in Texas, though still colder than I keep my place with A/C.

In other words, I slept great and though I went to bed feeling miserable, with a very sore throat, I woke up feeling my usual self for the first time since I've been north.

Maybe I feel better because I turned on the TV last night. I'm not familiar with the local TV lineup, so I ran through channels looking for Fox News, MSNBC, Bravo or anything familiar.

I eventually found Bravo. But the show on Bravo was that Project Runway one that I don't find very interesting, due to it being all about making a dress. That and there just is not much comedy or drama.

Then I happened upon this bizarro thing on E!, called The Girls Next Door. It's all about 82 year old elderly man, Hugh Hefner and his 3 live-in girl friends in the Playboy Mansion, I think. Maybe they live next door, and not in the mansion, hence the name of the show.

Apparently, Viagra has revived Mr. Hefner, hence the 3 girl friends. Hefner claims 80 is the new 40. Which pretty much means I've not been born yet. I'll inform my mom when they return here.

There have been 4 seasons of this show, with a 5th to start in October, God willing. I assume last night what I saw was a re-run. It was all about the girls posing for an anniversary issue of Playboy. It was a historic issue, as one of the girls said, she thought, because, as far as she knew, this was the first time the Playboy had the front view of the posers on the front cover and the back view on the back cover.

Hugh wanted the girls to pose for the second anniversary issue in a row on his giant revolving bed. The girls didn't like this. It seemed to me Mr. Hefner, in his dotage years, did not remember they'd posed on the bed before.

One of the girls talked Hefner into letting each of the girls have her own photo shoot with a theme of their choosing.

But, before we saw that we saw the revolving bed shoot. And yes, it was quite clear the girls were all buck naked. Instead of the usual blurring of the naughty bits, some sort of airbrushing thing was done that rendered the girls into Barbie dolls. The nipples were missing and there were no butt cracks.

Despite the attempt at censoring for those offended by such things, it took no imagination at all to fill in the missing pieces. I sat there thinking this was so stupid. Who are they doing the censoring for? If you chose to watch this show you know what it's about. If you are such a prude that a bare boob or butt upsets you, why are you watching this?

Where it truly troubled me is I thought a pubescent boy could happen upon this and this could be the first naked woman he's ever seen. It imprints upon his imagination. And then, one day, he sees a naked woman in person and is totally horrified to see she has these nipple things, unlike the girls he saw on Girls Next Door.

Anyway, I watched about 15 minutes of this high class entertainment and decided I was over stimulated and turned off the TV and the lights and went to sleep.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Point Defiance Hike With Close Ferry Collision

My one reader may remember me mentioning going hiking at Point Defiance a couple times since I've been in Tacoma. And that I went again on Saturday, that time to take video of the hike.

My first day here we walked the beach at Point Defiance and I tried to take a photo of the crystal clear water with my old-fashioned digital camera. That did not come out well. But video of the same water did show how clear it is.

On Saturday, there were dozens of boats of all sizes in the water, from little kayaks to regular fishing boats to yachts to ferrys to container ships.

In the video below you'll go on a hike through old growth forest, spend a little time on the beach, see some very clear water, a lot of boats and a near collision with a ferry. Very dramatic.

Me, McDonald's and Tacoma

I have only been in a couple McDonald's in Texas. Maybe 3. My fast food experiences in Texas have not been pretty. It's not just McDonald's. I had a very unsettling experience at a Taco Bell in the rattlesnake town of Sweetwater.

The last Texas McDonald's I've been in was in 2001, when my mom and dad were here, I mean there---I'm here in Tacoma right now, not there, in Texas. We were on our way to Waxahachie, they saw a McDonald's and wanted an ice cream cone. The machine was broken. That was the same problem with the very first Texas McDonald's I'd been in, up in the Panhandle, in a town the name of which I've long forgotten.

I just remembered, I have been to a good Texas McDonald's, that being the one I call the "World's Most Unique McDonald's" on my Texas website. That was also during my mom and dad's 2001 visit.

So, why am I babbling about McDonald's? Well, an odd thing happens when I'm up here in Tacoma. I seem to go to McDonald's a lot. There is a very well run one near where I'm staying. It's called the Chihuly Glass McDonald's due to some Chihuly Glass being on display. I use the drive-thru. Even if the line of cars is long, it goes very very fast.

On Friday I went thru the aforementioned drive-thru to find that on Fridays you get a free iced latte, along with the 2 bacon cheeseburgers I got from the Dollar Menu.

The last time I was here, on the way back to the airport, Lulu and I went to the Chihuly McDonald's and I got a Fish Sandwich, in addition to something on the Dollar Menu. I had a 3 hour layover in Phoenix. I knew I was going to be picked up by my mom and dad and sister and likely taken to McDonald's All You Can Eat in Phoenix.

So, why in the world did I go to McDonald's before going to the airport? It perplexes me to this day.

In the meantime, today I had a McChicken and a Bacon Cheeseburger. From the Dollar Menu, of course. No, I did not want a drink or fries with that. If you're giving away Iced Lattes, I'll take one of those.

No TV No Missing It

I thought I had a few "Don't Miss" TV shows. But, apparently I was wrong. I've not watched TV since I've been in Tacoma. Or the day before I flew up here. I'm not missing it.

I had programmed myself to watch certain shows, like some sort of moronic robot on auto-pilot. Like Bravo's Flipping Out. I have not watched since Jeff Lewis fired his lying assistant, Chris Elwood, who happened to be his executive assistant, Jenni's, husband. They've probably gotten divorced in the episodes I've not seen.

And then there is Kathy Griffin's: My Life on the D-List. I thought I couldn't miss that funny show. I guess I was wrong.

I was afraid Lulu would get me addicted to the lastest version of Big Brother. But, she ain't watching it.

It's not like I'm wanting for TVs here. There's one of those big new-fangled flat panel things in one room. Every bedroom has a TV. But I've not turned mine on.

Speaking of my bedroom. It had been in an apartment in the basement, that I called The Arctic. Well, my sister got home last night, from a week in D.C., where she experienced high temps and horrible humidity and got drenched in a downpour. I would have thought she'd get back here and find it chilly. Particularly since the temps here are being record-breaking lows. As in it got down in the 50s last night and only 69 during the day.

But. When my sister got home she thought it was way too hot in here. While my mom and dad, from Arizona, and me, from Texas, are quite chilly all the time.

Due to this Hot House, my sister was not able to sleep well last night. So, this morning I suggested I move up to the upper loft, known as The Tropics, while she could move to The Arctic. She jumped at this idea, incredulous that I could find it bearable to be in The Tropical Attic. Unbearable? When it's 10 degrees, or more, colder than I keep the A/C back in Texas.

So, I am now up in "The Tropics." I am still a bit chilly. There are 2 A/C units in here, should, God Forbid, we get a heat wave with temps in the low 80s.

The TV appears to be smaller in The Tropics than the one I didn't watch in The Arctic. I likely will not watch this one either.

I'm thinking I may be in the process of making a serious life change, in more ways than one, with one being dropping TV, Cold Turkey. I tell you, I think I'm already reaping benefits from not subjecting my feeble little brain to the corroding evil of the cathode ray.

Does a Flat Panel TV have a cathode ray? I suspect not.

Fremont Sunday Market In Seattle

On Sunday I got up at 3 am to get picked up by Lulu at 6 am to be in Seattle in the Fremont District at 7 am to be at the Fremont Sunday Market which opened at 10 am.

It was a long day. But a lot of fun. Due to letting it be known that I would be there Lulu and I had a few visitors drop in. Some I'd not seen in years.

Fremont used to be a town, then it became a district of Seattle. Then it seceded from the Union and declared itself the Independent Republic of Fremont. When the Soviet Union went bye-bye, Fremont bought some Lenin statues and some old missiles.

In other words Fremont is pretty much ground zero for the lively Seattle counter-culture. There are a lot of galleries and restaurants and shops in Fremont.

A canal runs through Fremont connecting Lake Union with Puget Sound, taking boats through the Ballard Locks in order to get them through the varying water elevations. Fort Worth may one day have a lake, but unlike natural Lake Union, if their Trinity River Vision ever becomes clear and they dam up a perfectly fine river to create a little lake and some canals. Fort Worth will need no locks for its canals.

In Fremont, a bridge crosses the canal that has to open up to permit big boats to pass. This created a huge traffic jam as we were leaving the Sunday Market yesterday.

I'd not had Rainier Cherries in a long time. Bought some yesterday. They were better than I remembered.

Fremont has this really cool, large, environmentally friendly, organic oriented grocery store that has apartments built above, parking garage below, with elevators taking the apartment dwellers down to the grocery store. I got really good pizza, some natural coke made with cane sugar and an almond stuffed croissant at this store. It has a very big outdoor eating zone. I was impressed. Only thing close to this, in my zone of Texas, is Central Market. I think the Fremont grocery was called PCC. I may be wrong.

Lulu was in fine form yesterday. She's like the Queen of the Market. I may do Fremont again next Sunday. Maybe. You'll see a lot of Lulu in the video below....

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Fremont Sunday Market

I got up at 3:30 this morning. My biological clock, still ticking on Central Time, thinks it's 5:30. I am up early this morning because Lulu is picking me up at 6 to go to Seattle to go to the Fremont Sunday Market where Lulu has a booth pretty much every Sunday.

It should be an interesting, albeit, exhausting day. I have to get back here in time to drive back to the airport to pick up my incoming sister at 8:30 pm.

I've been to the Fremont Sunday Market a couple times. It's a good thing. One time Wanda bought these things called Hash Brownies from a street vendor at Fremont. Apparently this type thing is illegal in some places. They were tasty brownies.

The Fremont Sunday Market has been running every Sunday since 1990. It has grown into being a thriving, diverse, European type street market. Fort Worth should have sent someone to check out Fremont and Pike Place before claiming their pathetic predictably soon to fail Sante Fe Rail Market was modeled after Pike Place and European public markets. The sad little Fort Worth boondoggle did not remotely resemble either.

There is good food to be had at the Fremont Market. Things like Veracci pizzas, Chicago style hot dogs, French crepes, tamales, Thai desserts, Tuscan Bruschetta, a pizza oven on wheels, fruits and veggies, chocolate truffles and all sortsa pastry stuff.

I'll be shooting video today and YouTubing it later. I hope it is not a cloudy day. I know it will be cold. Temperatures here are averaging about 10 degrees below the norm. So much for global warming in the Pacific Northwest.

Seattle Seafair Torchlight Parade

Last night a crowd estimated to be around 300,000 lined 2.5 miles of a downtown Seattle street, a line of people stretching from the Seahawk Stadium, known as Quest Field, to the Seattle Center (that's where the Space Needle is) to watch the 49th annual Seafair Torchlight Parade.

The Seafair Pirates are always a big part of the Torchlight Parade. They act like really bad boys. There were several giant balloons, like the pirate you see in the photo. A goldfish and a killer whale (orca) also floated by in balloon form. A rather goofy balloon, perfect for ultra-green Seattle, was Seattle City Light workers walking the parade with a giant balloon shaped like one of those new corkscrew shaped light bulbs we will soon all be plagued with.

The Torchlight Parade is one of the many events that make up Seattle's Seafair. There were over 100 floats in this year's parade. A marching Army band played "God Bless America," bringing ultra-patriotic, ultra-liberal northwesterners to their feet.

The next big event in Seafair comes up August 1-3 when hydroplanes roar in races on Lake Washington while the Navy's Blue Angels make noise in the sky. I've personally never cared for the hydroplanes races. Way too many people, both on land and in the water. Watching fast boats. Reminds me way too much of a NASCAR race. I don't get why people like watching that either.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Drive Across The New Tacoma Narrows Suspension Bridge

Like I mentioned earlier, today I drove across the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge for the first time. The new bridge included improvements to the highway that connects the bridge to I-5, vastly improving one of the Northwest's worst traffic bottlenecks.

It might be of interest to people in Fort Worth, and maybe Texas, to know that this bridge came about via a vote by the people who use it. If I remember correctly, 5 or 6 different counties voted on the bond issue to build the bridge.

Cost? Over $1 Billion. Meanwhile, as many of you know, Fort Worth currently has a likely public works boondoggle in the making that the public has not voted on and which has not been funded by the public voting on a bond issue to finance building a little lake and some canals. As you may be able to tell, it appalls me that something so drastic can be proposed to a town's infrastructure, with the people not allowed to vote on it. Because the Fort Worth Ruling Junta wants their latest boondoggle and the Ruling Junta knows the public would vote a BIG NO.

Someday, maybe, Fort Worth may become a democracy. Who knows? The Berlin Wall came down, China now is a booming capitalist nation, if you live long enough you live to see some dramatic changes. Maybe Fort Worth can someday overthrow the Ruling Junta and become a democracy. Who knows? It's unlikely, but stranger miracles have occurred.

In the meantime, watch the video I took today of driving through Tacoma and across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

A Long Day's Journey Into Night In Tacoma

I've had me a day. And it's not even 2pm yet. This morning I did not get my early wake-up call from The Poodles yapping when the newspaper arrives. They were being too contented to bother, because my little sister convinced my mom that The Poodles got sad when left alone in their own room at night. How this information was gleaned, I do not know.

Now, before Grandma and Grandpa arrived The Poodles seemed just fine with staying behind the closed door of their own bedroom, while their Uncle enjoyed his peace and quiet in the basement.

After reading the paper and drinking my morning coffee I took off to Lulu's to let her dog, Pal, out of the garage. Lulu is out of town til tonight. Originally I was to go along. I'm glad that changed.

About 8am I leashed up The Poodles and let them lead me to Wright Park. That is sort of Tacoma's mini-version of New York City's Central Park. It was a long walk.

After I returned The Poodles, to the safety of their Grandma and Grandpa, I took off to take video of the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge. That's what you see in the photo. Parallel suspension bridges. The one on the left is the old bridge. I think it was built over 50 years ago to replace the previous suspension bridge known as Galloping Gertie, due to the way she swayed in the wind. Eventually wind knocked down Galloping Gertie. Washington has had its unfair share of bridge disasters, either falling down or sinking. Or combos of both.

After checking out the new bridge I headed to Point Defiance Park to take video of the hike through the woods that I had fun on yesterday. It was fun again. I don't know if it's the fresh air, the cool temps, being at sea level or that I'm in incredibly better shape than I realized, but I had no idea I could run up steep slopes like I did again today, let alone holding a video camera in one hand while doing so.

After I was done with hiking and being at the beach and watching all the boats I headed back here, checking out Stadium High School on the way. I won't explain right now why a high school would be interesting to see. I took video of it. You'll see why its a cool thing when you see the video. I mean, if you see the video.

I'll be having myself one long day tomorrow, stuck in Seattle all day in the Fremont district at the Fremont Sunday Market. I'll be in Lulu's booth. Drop by and I'll autograph a "Durango Texas" t-shirt for you. After you buy it, of course.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Driving Tacoma's Waterfront

I went hiking today at Tacoma's Point Defiance Park. Great trails hovered over by giant old growth trees. And it smelled so good.

As I was leaving there was a couple acting all concerned that they weren't allowed to walk on the paved trail that runs along the beach. I overheard them debating. I asked where they were from. I was already thinking I knew, due to the accent. Yup, they were Texans.

I explained that this was a public park, that the only fees were for the zoo and the aquarium, that they could hike all they wanted to. For free. Washington has started charging a fee for most day use at the state parks. It didn't used to be that way. Texas charges a hefty fee to enter their state parks. Hence the Texas couple's concern. They must have thought they were at a state park. I told them they should hike til the pavement ended in about quarter mile, because then they'd be at a driftwood covered beach with a lot of people having fun. Free of charge.

After the hike I drove the Tacoma waterfront. And took video. You can watch that below. Someday, way in the future, Fort Worth may have a little bitty bit of waterfront due to their very forward thinking Trinity River Vision. I really can't wait for that to happen.

Chesapeake Energy Turns Even More Comic

2000 miles away and I can't escape Chesapeake Energy looniness. What's the latest you ask? Well, as part of Chesapeake Energy's ongoing expensive propaganda campaign's onslaught on the minds of what Chesapeake Energy must think are easily brainwashed Texas minds, Chesapeake Energy is now targeting children.

Oh no, you say. Not the children. Well, the adults get Chesapeake's Shale.TV, newspaper ads, billboards, TV ads, radio ads, bus ads, I've likely forgotten some of the propaganda ads targetted at adults, so, isn't it simple common sense that some effort be directed at kids?

And so it will be, in the form of a coloring book featuring a dog drill rig worker named Chesapeake Charlie.

Why doesn't Chesapeake Energy take all the money being blown on their silly, not-working, just annoying people, over the top propaganda campaign and instead spend that money helping the people being directly affected by the drilling shenanigans. Like if you destroy someone's trees, make it right and plant even better trees. And send the family to Disneyland while you plant them.

Try dealing directly with the actual issues that bother people, rather than trying so hard to futilely try to convince them that Barnett Shale is pretty near the Second Coming. When people let you know they don't want a drill rig next to a cherished natural area, listen to them and don't drill there. You've got plenty of spots to stick your holes in the ground. You don't need to be doing so in controversial locations.

That's how you get people on your side, by treating them fairly and sensitively, not by bombarding them with a foolish propaganda campaign that the vast majority sees precisely for what it is. Self-serving blather.

Read more about the latest Chesapeake Energy foolishness here.

$18 Billion Puget Sound Light Rail Vote

Each day up in the beautiful Pacific Northwest seems to bring yet one more fresh reminder of why I find things, at times, so perplexing in Texas.

Today's example of how different things are done here, as opposed to Texas, was the news that the voters in the Puget Sound region will soon be deciding whether or not to support a $17.9 billion plan to expand light rail, trains and buses.

The first stage of Seattle's new light rail system will soon be completed. When it's done you will be able to ride a train from north of downtown, through the transit tunnel, that runs under downtown Seattle, and continue all the way to Sea-Tac airport.

All the time I've been in Texas the only proposal I have seen that has had over a billion dollar price tag has been a rather bizarre proposal to build a grandiose transportation corridor from the Mexican border north through Texas. This proposal seems to be mostly hot air with little hope of being built.

One of Texas' slogans is "Everything is Bigger in Texas." From my observation that is only applicable to the size of the people. Other than that they seem to think a bit on the small side.

For instance, in Fort Worth, there is this Trinity River Vision Project. The local propaganda makes this sound as if it will be a transformative project that will propel Fort Worth to a wonderful, better future. It started off costing a bit over $400 million. The latest estimate has this likely boondoggle costing a bit over half a $billion.

Now, here is where it gets weird in Texas. Unlike Washington, the voters of Fort Worth have not voted on this twisted vision. Unlike citizens of Washington they have not voted to tax themselves for this supposed civic improvement.

Not only have they not voted to tax themselves, like some sort of welfare queen, Fort Worth is sucking Federal dollars to fund over half of their likely boondoggle. Yes, you read that right, you in the rest of the country, some of the money you have paid the government is being channelled to Fort Worth to help pay for a bizarre project that the people of Fort Worth have not voted on.

A project that will destroy the confluence of two branches of the Trinity River to create a little lake and some canals. To get the Federal dollars a totally bogus, not needed, flood control diversion channel was added to the project. You in the rest of the country have already paid to control flooding in Fort Worth, back in the 1950s, when enormous levees were built after a really bad flood did a lot of damage.

Meanwhile, up here in Washington, the voters will decide if they want to pay for a multi-billion dollar project to help relieve some of the traffic congestion. You in the rest of the country won't be expected to kick in a few bucks to make it happen. What a concept.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tacoma's Cultural District & Fort Worth's

There is a town in Texas with so much culture they had to build an entire Cultural District to contain it. That would be Fort Worth, with an area of its 700,000 plus population town designated as "The Cultural District."

It's true. I'm not making it up.

Fort Worth's Cultural District is basically a few museums, a fair grounds and one theater.

Meanwhile, little Tacoma, where I am right now, a little town, less than a third the size of Fort Worth, has no "Cultural District."

But, though Tacoma does not have enough culture to assign the title "District" to it, Tacoma does have a cluster of museums in the south end of downtown. among other cultural amenities, like a new convention center. Due southeast from the convention center is the Tacoma Art Museum, next to that is the Washington State History Museum, across a Bridge of Glass, from there, is the Museum of Glass.

The setting for Tacoma's "cultural district" is quite scenic, with Mount Rainier hovering above, on a clear day, like today. There are a lot of restaurants and shops and galleries in Tacoma's "cultural district." The Glass Museum connects to the Thea Foss Waterway, which is a sort of promenade along the waterfront, with marinas with a lot of docked boats. A cable stay bridge and the Tacoma Dome anchor the south end.

The free to ride Sound Transit train runs through Tacoma's cultural district, along Pacific Avenue.

Tacoma's "cultural district" is quite aesthetically pleasing. It would be a stretch to say the same regarding Fort Worth's Cultural District. Sadly, even if Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision's Town Lake and canals ever get built, that still won't provide Fort Worth's Cultural District with any water-based culture. While Tacoma comes by water features naturally.

As for any sort of rail moving people to Fort Worth's Cultural District. Well, I don't know if they are still running, but there are these little green trolleys that Fort Worth bought from some place in Australia, that putter from the Cultural District to downtown to the Stockyards. I've never seen anyone riding one. They may be gone now.

Below is video I took today of a walk by Tacoma's museums and the Bridge of Glass and Thea Foss Waterway. Sadly, I took the video about 1pm. An hour later The Mountain was out.

Happy Birthday, Big Ed in Texas

Today is the Happy 39th Birthday of my best friend in pretty much the world, or at least Texas, Big Ed and his even Bigger twin, Wally.

In the photo, the pair known to those who know them, as the Goober Twins, are posing awkwardly in front of a rock formation known as Twin Rocks. If I remember right, this was somewhere near, or in, Capitol Reef National Park, in Utah. We were on our way to go houseboating with a group of malcontents on Lake Powell.

Wally is about twice the size now of the Wally you see in this photo. Big Ed has shrunk from the size you see in this photo. I've not seen Wally since 2004. But I get reports regarding his increasing heft. I'm at the Fremont Sunday Market all day on Sunday. That's in Seattle about 3 miles from where Wally lives with his first wife, Wanda. Maybe Wally & Wanda will show up. I hope I recognize them.

Pa & Ma in Tacoma

My parental units arrived a day early, last night, about bedtime. What followed was about 2 hours of my own personal Seinfeld episode.

The first thing brought in the house was a giant cooler. I helped my mom, who has trouble seeing, but does remarkably well, unload the cooler and figure out what was in it.

Apparently somewhere in Oregon they paid over $30 for 2 dungeness crab. They thought they were fresh crab when they bought it. But the crab was frozen.

As mom and I unpacked the cooler my dad brought in box after box after box of other stuff, til the living room floor was lined with boxes.

One of the boxes was stuff for me. It's a big box. They know I'm flying and should know this is not convenient. This is not the first time. The last time I saw Ma & Pa was a couple years ago in Phoenix. My mom loaded up my backpack with oranges. This caused all sortsa problems going through security, as in oranges falling out all over, while I tried to find my electronic stuff to put in the scanner tray. Somehow during the orange debacle my cell phone was lost.

There is a long history of trying to get me to bring big loads on a plane. I remember back late in the last century I'd flown to Vegas with a group, including Lulu. My mom and dad had been touring the country and met up with me in Vegas. We went out to the Luxor buffet. But on the way back my mom informed me she wanted me to take a huge box of Christmas presents for everyone up north, back with me on the plane.

When Lulu saw the box she was appalled. She drug it down to the hotel's customer service and shipped the box home via UPS.

I've no idea what is in all the boxes in the living room. Last night my mom was going through them and telling my dad he'd mixed things up. He'd deny, over and over again, mixing anything up. And then my mom would say, over and over again, sorry honey, I found it.

Keep in mind my mom has Macular Degeneration and can't see very well. The quality level of her vision seems to ebb and flow.

My mom and dad were under strict orders not to give anything, but their prescribed food, to the poodles. Previously my sister was appalled to learn my mom had been giving bowls of cheerios with milk to them in the morning and bowls of ice cream in the evening.

Last night mom had a huge bag of bones for the poodles. I told mom this was a no-no. That didn't stop her. The poodles gnawed the bones til nothing was on them. When I saw Blue's bone was breaking up, I wrestled it away from him.

My sister has a long to-do list for mom and dad. To keep them busy. One of the to-do things is to make strawberry jam. My dad can't hear and my mom can't see. She tells my dad what to do, so basically it's my dad who makes the jam. It is supposedly quite comical to watch this. I'm going to opt out of that entertainment.

I am securely located down in the basement. Mom and dad don't like stairs. Or so I've been told. From what I've seen nothing much stops them. I think there is a lock on the door at the top of the stairs...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

McDonald's Cheeseburger Loving Poodles

The Poodles, in my temporary care, love McDonald's Cheeseburgers. They talk about them all the time on their Blog. I am under strict orders not to give them anything but what is on their vet prescribed diet. No matter how much they beg. I got a call a few minutes ago, from Washington D. C., from Max & Blue's primary caregivers, after they saw the below video. I think I'm in trouble....

Jogging in Tacoma to Fight the Cold

Have I mentioned it's cold here in Tacoma? Well, this morning I took my pair of poodles on a walk. That turned into a run. From that I learned apparently I am in running shape. Me and the poodles ran a long long ways this morning. I guess it has something to do with being at sea level. Ultra-fresh air and all those hikes I do back in Fort Worth in extreme temperatures.

This jogging thing also caused it to occur to me why people here are so thin as opposed to so noticeably fatter in Texas. Here your poor body burns a lot of calories just to stay warm. And because it's so cold it's more inviting to go outside and get physical than in hot Texas. And there are very few donut stands here. And frying food is frowned upon. For the most part. The only vegetable that gets fried here is a potato.

So, this afternoon I decided to see if going jogging without the poodles could possibly warm me up. I took my camera along because I wanted to take a photo of the above house with the "Impeach Bush" and "No Iraq War" signs. A few of the neighbors of this house had similar signs. And flew the flag. Some Texans may think the west coast is full of left-wing pinko tree hugging hippie sorts. It is true that Tacoma and the west side of the mountains, in Washington, is a very liberal zone. A lot of free-spirited, well-educated, free-thinkers up here. Lesser so in Texas.

Above we see another anti-Bush sign. In 2004 I was up here to do a job for the former deputy mayor. The day he met me he took me back, in his Prius, to my apartment. When we got there he pulled in behind a pick-up. With Texas plates. He half-jokingly, I think, said "I need to get on the phone to the sheriff to have this guy run out of town." By the time he fired me I was to realize he did not have a very highly evolved sense of humor. This run the guy out of town remark was an early example of that.

See? This is an example of how very patriotic, yet rebellious, people are here. And how well everyone landscapes their yards.

One of the things I like about Tacoma, and Washington in general, is you don't have to go to a park for a park-like experience. Like these photos show, I left my sister's house to go on a jog. The landscaping surrounding the sidewalks makes it very pleasant, visually, and all the flowers smell good. Texans, take note. You could do this too if you got off your lazy big butts once in awhile. Okay, that was uncalled for. But it was what I was thinking and I'm in too big a hurry right now to self-censor. I've got a steak on the grill.

Above we are looking at a brick-covered street, out towards Commencement Bay. Commencement Bay is part of Puget Sound. Puget Sound is part of the Pacific Ocean. Tacoma has all sorts of water features, courtesy of Mother Nature. Fort Worth may some day have a small water feature, courtesy eminent domain abuse, if their Trinity River Vision ever gets clear and results in a little lake and some canals. Regarding the above brick-covered street. There are a lot of these in Washington. Fort Worth has a brick-covered street that's sort of bumpy, called Camp Bowie Boulevard. Long ago I asked a Fort Worth native why in the world they'd keep that bumpy brick road. She was a former reporter for the Star-Telegram and she actually told me that this brick road was a unique one of a kind thing. I was appalled. I'd already seen other parts of Texas with brick roads. This was the first time I realized there are a lot of Texans who do not see much of the rest of the world. Or their own state.

I jogged a couple miles. Back at my sister's I took a picture of her house. That's the car I'm driving around. It has a lot of electronic things in it that confuse me. If the photo were big enough you'd see a pair of happy poodles staring out the windows on the right. They are very very vigilant.

Above is a Tacoma Transit bus going by my sister's house. My sister can easily take a bus from her house to the Sound Transit train terminal a few blocks away, then ride that free train to the main transit hub and get on a bus to ride to Olympia, where she is a lawyer righting wrongs. You could try and do the same thing in Fort Worth. But it would be an exhausting ordeal. And not easy. I'm referring to the righting wrongs thing, not the taking a bus thing...