Saturday, February 28, 2009

No Strings Attached

On January 26th I alerted you to the upcoming production of "No Strings Attached" ... the story of Pinocchio. My young friend, Sam Hill, gave a wonderful performance of the lead part Pinocchio. My wife and I spent a fun evening listening to and watching the talented students of St. Francis of Assisi School.

Congratulations, Sam! Your performance was terrific!!

Friday, February 27, 2009

News of Spring is greatly exaggerated ...

The optimists among us were hopeful that last weeks warm and spring-like weather was real. Imagine our surprise on waking yesterday to find a fresh blanket of SNOW! Even these crocus, planted in a neighbor's lawn, were fooled. Fortunately this winter reprise is going to be short-lived.

I posted another photo of these crocus under happier conditions almost exactly one year ago. Interesting to see that last year was milder and warmer, based on the height of both the grass and the flowers.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Miniature Trolley

Seattle has a rich diversity of public art. One such collection graces Metro Transit bus shelters. Seen above is one of several trolley cars adorning the bus shelter on Alaska Street at California Avenue in West Seattle. The inspiration for this trolley motif was the original trolley line that served much of Seattle before rails were replaced with rubber wheeled vehicles in the 1940's.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Press Day Mural

Teens often like to live dangerously, thinking themselves invincible, like this fellow riding across a relatively busy street on his stunt bike. The press-men in the mural behind him show that some things do change and evolve while other things, like teenage behavior, remain relatively constant.

I found myself in West Seattle again and spotted another of the several historic public art murals. This one is about the web-fed Duplex press at the West Seattle Herald newspaper before WWII. It is located on 44th between Alaska and Edmunds. Painted by artist Alan Wylie and dedicated 9/17/1998. (for a closer view see my "Extra Depth" today)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Life's Little Mysteries

My wife alerted me to this unusual scene on the corner of Bell Street and Second Avenue as she rode past on a bus late last week. What Seattle's famous Space Needle is doing leaning against a chain-link fence is just one of life's little mysteries. The building that recently occupied this city block has disappeared. I have a very vague and hazy memory of this Space Needle look-a-like being a decorative part of one of the businesses that is no more. What that business might have been is unknown to me. And no, I don't know what is going to be built on this corner, though I'd guess it will probably be a combination of retail and residential construction.

As I was looking for an interesting angle, a couple of Seattle policemen stopped and asked if I'd like my picture taken with the Space Needle. No, I really didn't ... but, not wanting to disappoint the men in blue, I said "Oh yes, thank you very much." One of the officers said, jokingly I'm sure, to make sure his partner didn't walk off with my camera like he apparently had done on some previous occasion. Officer Friendly made the picture, returned my camera, and I went back to looking for my angle while they walked across the street to enjoy breakfast.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Memories ...

Rain has returned to Seattle and once again Mother Nature has let us know it is still winter. Showers are what the weather forecasters call them. Wet is my description. Last week, however, we enjoyed sun and blue skies much like this photo of kayakers paddling beneath the Aurora Bridge from Lake Union into the Lake Washington Ship Canal. 

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Magnolia Bridge reprise

Another perspective on the Magnolia Bridge ... this time seen from West Seattle across Elliott Bay. To compare with another view I posted last month click here.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Your carriage awaits

A horse-drawn carriage waits at the corner of Pike Place and Virginia. Perhaps the driver is negotiating with his next fare via cellphone? Or maybe he and his horse are patiently waiting for their fare to emerge from the Pike & Western wine shop? Other possibilities include a delicious chicken borek from Turkish Delight or a gourmet hot dog from Taxi Dogs.  All sorts of stories abound when one turns loose the reins of imagination. Maybe the seeds of your next novel are here on this corner?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Clear and Cold

As I was on my way to the mailbox last night I was impressed with the number of stars visible in the night sky. This is but a very small slice of the sky, looking southwest from the Magnolia neighborhood in Seattle.

To visit other Sky Watch Friday participants blogs, click here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Happy Habit

Closed, fortunately, as I love chocolate. Waiting for the bus one evening recently I noticed the slogan on the door of See's Candies. A Happy Habit indeed! 

Doing a bit of research on the See's Candies website also gave a surprising bit of information. During the great depression of the late 1920 and 1930s, See's Candies expanded and grew. Counter-intuitive, I must say. However, I can think of very few things that raise one's spirits like chocolate. Also interesting is the fact that See's Candies has been owned since 1972 by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Company. That alone speaks volumes about the quality of See's Candies.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Quirky Quality

I'm thinking "Quirky Quality" might be something of an oxymoron. I'm also thinking this is probably someplace I'd sooner see from outside than from within. I checked a couple of "Bit Saloon" references on the web and pretty much confirmed that thought. Nevertheless, it's a pretty cool piece of strange and unique art ... this beer bottle cap covered Volvo parked in front of "The Bit Saloon - Ballard's Quirky Quality Dive Bar". Can you imagine how many bottles of beer and hours it took for the artist to cover his or her car? 

If you're in Seattle and feel the need for a personal inspection of this watering hole, you can find it just north of Leary Way on 17th Ave. NW.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

More Legos

A seemingly never ending supply of shipping containers at just one of the shipping facilities on Harbor Island. Last week I showed a photo of these "Lego-like" containers being loaded onto a container ship in the Duwamish Waterway. Harbor Island, on more than one occasion the largest man-made island in the world, was first completed in 1909.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Winter Exercise

Our recent sunny weather has inspired more outdoor activities in spite of the 40˚ weather. My wife and I, like this jogger, often take advantage of Magnolia Boulevard along Magnolia Bluff; high above Puget Sound this is the perfect place for a jog, walk or stroll with wonderful water, mountain and city views.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Meet The Producer!

Yesterday my friend, Ted Jonkheer, spent Valentine's Day helping Cupid at the Pike Place Market. Ted has been a flower farmer since 1963. Each year, in late January, you can expect to begin to see Ted's fresh tulips on his table at the market. Ted makes the 60 mile trek from Mount Vernon and the Skagit Valley south to Seattle, several times a week, bringing fresh flowers to the market. Because flowers on Valentine's day are so popular, Ted spent yesterday away from his farm and set up an extra table on the brick cobblestones by his big truck, meeting his Pike Place Market customers and spreading his special kind of colorful love to Seattle residents.

Jonkheer Greenhouses can supply special flowers for special events. If you would like to contact Ted, you can reach him in Mount Vernon, Washington.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Recycling Fun

Walking to the bank yesterday I encountered a boy named Zach on his way home from school. Zach was having a royal time with a discarded poster-board his teacher had put into the trash.

So, can you remember playing "make-believe" on your way home from school?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Spring Alternative

Nice to see happy colors and the creative use of outdoor decorations. This home in West Seattle near the Alki Lighthouse has put together an attractive design using a great deal of blue glass. I love whimsical art and especially when it appears so unexpectedly!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Little Boxes

From this distance it sort of looks like this container ship being loaded from Harbor Island in the Duwamish Waterway is laden with colorful Legos. Of course you and I know better. Each of those containers is semi-truck size and there's no telling what might be inside. Seattle is one of the busier ports on the West Coast of the USA, though we have lost some business to nearby Tacoma and also the Port of Vancouver not many miles to our north in Canada.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bank Day

Driving down California Avenue toward Alaska Street, I passed this mural on the side of what used to be a Washington Mutual Bank branch. I'm a sucker for well done murals, so drove around the block for a closer look. As I parked down the block from the bank I saw these two ladies just exiting a beauty salon and decided to include them in my photo. I have to wonder if these two women just might remember the days depicted in this mural ... "Bank Day" ... a school classroom scene showing thrift and the discipline of regular savings. The date on the blackboard is March 13, 1923, and there is a poster that says ...
Thrift ... the most important feature of the system is that it teaches the child the regular habit of thrift.
Some valuable lessons and principles just don't change. 
For a more detailed view of the mural click here.

Monday, February 9, 2009

After Hours

Walking along Leary Way in Fremont recently I discovered the restaurant that used to be known as the Longshoreman's Daughter has changed names (and presumably ownership). Now this space is occupied by a vegan restaurant named Silence-Heart-Nest. Perusing their online menu I see many breakfast - brunch items that sound tempting. Their prices also seem quite reasonable. I think I'll be visiting sometime soon when their door is actually open.

On a different note, today's post is a milestone of sorts ... post number 400. Who would have thought? Not I when I began this exercise just a little over one year ago.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Market Sunset

This was the scene behind me as I walked to the bus the night before last as I left the Pike Place Market. Hard to beat the views from here at days' end.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Vintage Truck & Chocolate Cake

This vintage pickup truck was parked at the Pike Place Market yesterday. I don't know how old it is, but it's old enough to have Collector plates, which means it is at least 30 years old. The advantage of Collector plates is that the owner of the vehicle pays a one-time fee to the State of Washington and has no more licensing fees associated with the vehicle as long as he / she owns it. I've got an original 1964 year plate on my vintage 1964 Vespa. It only takes a couple of years to recoup the licensing fee cost. 

The yellow and purple stuff on the bricks is Statice ... dried flowers that are commonly sold in bouquets by many of the Hmong farmers at the market.

Next, I have a bonus for you that might be perfect for your Valentine celebration next weekend. My wife and I made this a few weeks ago, but I just now got around to editing the video. Enjoy ... and try not to make this dessert too often -:)

The most dangerous cake recipe 
4 tablespoons flour 
4 tablespoons sugar 
2 tablespoons cocoa 
1 egg 
3 tablespoons milk 
3 tablespoons oil 
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional) 
a small splash of vanilla extract 
1 large coffee mug 
Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. 
Pour in the milk and oil and mix well. Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again. 
Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts (high). 
The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed! 
Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired. 
EAT! (this can serve 2 if you want to feel slightly more virtuous). 
And why is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the world?   
Because now we are all only 5 minutes away from chocolate cake at any time of the day or night! 
You are going to print this out straight away, aren't you ?

Friday, February 6, 2009

House, sweet home

This is the view that greeted me as I pulled up in front of my home night before last ... the sunset and city shot I had been chasing and hoping for was just outside my front door. Should have stayed home -:) 

And so, it's Skywatch Friday ... click here to view some of the other participating blogs from around the world.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Patience and Persistence

At dawn or dusk on almost any day that Mount Rainier is making an appearance behind the Seattle skyline, you will find expensive cameras and tripods lining the fence at Kerry Park on Queen Anne Hill. Last night was no exception, though fewer than some evenings. On really nice days it's prudent to arrive an hour or two early to make certain you can stake out your own personal favorite spot. To see the classic city view these photographers cameras were seeing last night, click here.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


I drove about 60 miles north from Seattle yesterday to Fir Island, between Conway and LaConner, to visit our immigrant flock of Snow Geese. Every year between November and March, 30-70,000 Snow Geese migrate from Wrangle Island in Russia to winter over on the Skagit River Delta. Most days these geese can be found feeding happily in the fertile fields of Fir Island. Every now and again one of the resident eagles will pay the geese a visit, and as seen above, the geese take flight to become less inviting dinner entrĂ©es. If you look closely in the tree at the upper right, you'll find the eagle that is causing all the commotion.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Fremont Troll

I suspect most cities and towns have special public art. However, I must confess thinking Seattle is "extra special" in this category. You are certainly free to challenge that notion of mine, but be aware that by doing so you run the substantial risk of angering our resident Troll.

Nestled beneath the Aurora Bridge (where all good trolls are found), our local celebrity Troll was apparently inspired by the Scandinavian folk tale of "Three Billy Goats Gruff". Sculpted by four local artists (Steve Badanes, Will Martin, Donna Walter, Ross Whitehead) Mr. Troll weighs in at 2 tons and stands 5.5 meters or 18 feet high. I stop by to visit and usually make a point of introducing out of town guests to the Troll. Of note in this photo is the recently painted fingernails and the graffiti that has been added. I suspect the city will clean that off with a power washer in the near future. To read a bit more, click here.

Monday, February 2, 2009


Pursuing an errand yesterday I caught this symmetrical splash of red and green color out of the corner of my eye as I was driving. A split-second later I decided I needed to go around the block and investigate. I've driven past Le Gourmand restaurant at 425 N. W. Market Street for many years but never stopped, nor had I realized they had added the "Sambar" to their establishment. The splash of shiny green and red tile that caught my eye seems rather unique, as does the reputation of both Le Gourmand French restaurant and their connected Sambar. You can read a review of Sambar in this Seattle PI article. And no, you'll not find me eating or drinking here ... a bit too pricey for my budget. 

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Monthly Theme Day - Paths and Passages

The first day of each month is the City Daily Photo Blog community's monthly theme day. Participants around the world post images portraying each blogger's interpretation of the theme. Our theme for February 1st is "paths and passages". 

I am incredibly fortunate to live in the Magnolia area of Seattle, where the former US Army property of Fort Lawton - now called Discovery Park, is located. At 534 acres, this public park has something to offer everyone, and trails for hiking, biking and jogging abound, with forested areas, a lighthouse and beach, along with territorial vistas of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains.

To view other CDPB "paths and passages" offerings from around the world click here to view thumbnails for all participants 

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