Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Poem for Tuesday and Picnic Point Beach

A Grain Of Sand
By Robert William Service

If starry space no limit knows
And sun succeeds to sun,
There is no reason to suppose
Our earth the only one.
'Mid countless constellations cast
A million worlds may be,
With each a God to bless or blast
And steer to destiny.

Just think! A million gods or so
To guide each vital stream,
With over all to boss the show
A Deity supreme.
Such magnitudes oppress my mind;
From cosmic space it swings;
So ultimately glad to find
Relief in little things.

For look! Within my hollow hand,
While round the earth careens,
I hold a single grain of sand
And wonder what it means.
Ah! If I had the eyes to see,
And brain to understand,
I think Life's mystery might be
Solved in this grain of sand.


Tuesday was quite cool after our gorgeous weekend -- I don't think it ever got above 60 degrees. We were visited by many birds and a greedy squirrel while I did chores and laundry in the morning, then we took an early walk in the afternoon to the beach and saw ducklings for the first time in the sand. 

My Voyager group watched "Equinox Part I" -- finally, the end of the fifth season -- then we had tacos for Tuesday and walked out to the dock. Now we're watching more of Foundation, which is pretty heavy-handed but not as much as the books. From Picnic Point Park, some animals we met by the Sound: 

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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Greetings from Seattle Center

Memorial Day was the last day of the Northwest Folklife Festival, so after breakfast we drove into downtown Seattle, parking around the corner from the apartment building where older son used to live. We walked around the Space Needle in Seattle Center to the many stages and vendors set up for the festival. We brought sandwiches in case of long lines at the food trucks, but we ended up taking them back with us because we found beignets and many other goodies from around the world; we ate while watching Irish dance, shopped for tie-dye and art cards, and watched the Brittany Collins Band's full set on the Artist At Play Stage. 

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In the late afternoon we walked back through Belltown to the van, and drove back to Redmond in weather that had become warmer and sunnier throughout the day. We could see the mountain over Lake Washington as we drove out of the city. We ate the sandwiches we didn't finish at lunchtime for dinner along with macaroni and potato salad we had left over from the barbecue with our kids on Sunday, then we watched the unpleasant beginning of the Mariners-Yankees game (they ended up losing 10-4) before putting on Foundation, which seemed to us more entertaining than the books though neither of us remembers the books all that well.

Monday, May 29, 2023

Greetings from Kelsey Creek Farm

Sunday was another beautiful day and I got to spend almost all of it outdoors. We ate an early brunch, then went to Kelsey Creek Park in Bellevue, which is ten minutes from our apartment and has hiking trails along a stream where salmon spawn in the autumn. The main attraction at this time of year is the park's farm, on the land and in the barns that used to belong to the Twin Valley Dairy, where there are now sheep, goats, cows, horses, pigs, chickens, ducks, bees, and bunnies, including adolescent chicks still under a heat lamp. There's also a historic log cabin built in 1888 where kids can practice crafts like carding and spinning and see how people lived there over 100 years ago. 

We stopped at Safeway on the way back from the park to pick up barbecue essentials like burgers, macaroni salad, fruit, and wine, then we came home, did some cleanup, and waited for our kids who arrived with their girlfriends in the early evening. We chatted online with my parents -- it was my father's birthday -- and showed them the dock while eagles swooped over us, then we grilled burgers and s'mores on the public grills in our apartment complex since Daniel's girlfriend is too allergic to our cats to eat here. We just finished the finale of The Night Agent (not very realistic) and now we're watching the Succession series finale (I'm still nominally Team Shiv). 

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Sunday, May 28, 2023

Greetings from Tacoma

We spent a lovely day in Tacoma on Saturday, starting with a drive to Point Defiance's Fort Nisqually, which was having its annual celebration of Queen Victoria's birthday as it was celebrated at the fort in 1846 with toasts, volleys and cannon fire, plus tea, a maypole, and crafts (I got to make a lavender sachet and try three-ingredient shortbread). We ate sandwiches on the porch while listening to bagpipes and tin whistles. 

Then we went to Point Defiance's rhododendron garden, which is still in bloom, and walked around one of the loops with huge ferns and banana slugs before we headed into downtown Tacoma. We walked over the Chihuly Bridge of Glass to the train station and the UW campus, which have more glass on display and a Starbucks, and came back via the Museum of Glass gift shop and the boats in the harbor, then drove home for dinner and The Night Agent.

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Saturday, May 27, 2023

Greetings from Picnic Point

Paul only had to work half a day on Friday, so at midday we went to the post office, UPS, and Blazing Bagels for lunch, then after we ate we drove to Edmonds to Picnic Point Park at low tide. We met a woman in the parking lot whom I liked immediately because she had picked up a shell, then discovered that there was "a little guy" in it so she asked us to return him to the beach for her. We put the little crab in one of the tidepools, then walked all the way down the beach looking at more crabs, snails, and anemones, plus gulls and crows. Like many Puget Sound beaches, the train tracks parallel the shore, so we also got to see trains. 

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Since we were up near Lynnwood, we stopped at Target to get a little grill, at Ashley Furniture to look at beds, and at Alderwood Mall for dinner in the food court (Paul had Anthony's Seafood, I had Thai Go with the custom-made noodles and frozen red bean boba). So it was a very full but exciting day with lots of animals, good food, and a salt water beach! When we got home, we watched the Mariners until it was obvious the Pirates were going to beat them, then we watched this week's new Silo episode (better every time, mostly very well acted) and another episode of The Night Agent (not as well acted but still reasonably interesting).

Friday, May 26, 2023

Poem for Thursday and Kirkland Mini Trains

The Railway Train
By Emily Dickinson

I like to see it lap the Miles —
And lick the Valleys up —
And stop to feed itself at Tanks —
And then — prodigious step

Around a Pile of Mountains —
And supercilious peer
In Shanties — by the sides of Roads —
And then a Quarry pare

To fit it's sides
And crawl between
Complaining all the while
In horrid - hooting stanza —
Then chase itself down Hill —

And neigh like Boanerges —
Then — prompter than a Star
Stop — docile and omnipotent
At its own stable door —


I had a fairly quiet Thursday setting up a collapsible shelving unit and putting some toys on it, plus emptying the last box of Random Nonsense (action figures that had been on living room shelves, mini fairy lights that had been wrapped over bookcases) and setting up some lights on the deck around the sliding doors. The squirrels have already discovered the new bird feeder and angry red-winged blackbirds were landing on the lights to squawk their irritation. 

We walked to the beach in the late afternoon, had meatball subs for dinner, then I talked to my Thursday night chat group before we watched the finale of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which left a lot of things hanging but ended a central relationship on a positive note so that made me happy. Then we watched the first episode of The Night Agent, which is pretty good. From Eastside Trains in Kirkland, full of nostalgia from Thomas the Tank Engine to the Hogwarts Express: 

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Thursday, May 25, 2023

Poem for Wednesday and Kirkland Waterfront

Wind, Water, Stone
By Octavio Paz
Translated by Eliot Weinberger

for Roger Caillois

Water hollows stone,
wind scatters water,
stone stops the wind.
Water, wind, stone.

Wind carves stone,
stone's a cup of water,
water escapes and is wind.
Stone, wind, water.

Wind sings in its whirling,
water murmurs going by,
unmoving stone keeps still.
Wind, water, stone.

Each is another and no other:
crossing and vanishing
through their empty names:
water, stone, wind.


Wednesday was another spectacularly beautiful day, so after a morning chat with my high school friends and some early afternoon unpacking, we went to pick up our new license plates in Kirkland, then went to the waterfront there. The last time I walked around that area, it was so cold we couldn't stand in the wind, but today we had a beautiful breeze and lovely views of the boats and seabirds in Lake Washington. 

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We walked around some stores, including Eastside Trains with its big model tracks, then we went to Cactus for dinner and got the butternut squash enchiladas and jackfruit chimichanga, both of which were great. When we came back, we walked out along the dock to see the eagles and now we're watching Silo, which I'm enjoying a lot -- good acting and reasonably interesting mystery.