Sunday, February 28, 2010

Bus 101 for Singles

It has dawned on me this morning that an advantage of taking the bus to a dance is that, if some nice man asks if you'd like a ride home, you can say yes without leaving your own car in the dancehall parking lot.

Unfortunately, last night I was so focused on getting my money's worth from my $4.50 all-day bus pass, I said no to two offers of rides home and ended up waiting 12 minutes for the #5 while the sweat chilled on my body. On the bright side, I had a trip downtown in the morning, back home in the afternoon, and transportation to the dance at 8:30 and back home again all for one low, low price.

Of course, you wouldn't want somebody to go way out of his way in a car, spewing carbon the whole time, but 40 blocks doesn't seem too bad. Any further than that and you might be dealing with a man who flouts his responsibility to the environment, and who'd want a guy like that?

On the other hand, who wants a woman who's such a show-off smarty pants about riding the bus?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Friends, Best and Otherwise

Probably from reading books I got a construct in my mind about best friends: how you're supposed to have one, how it's supposed to work when you do. But I think I've been focusing too much on the exclusivity angle of it.

Because since I've been mulling this over, I don't believe I've spoken with a single person who hasn't said, "I have more than one best friend." A bike guy I met at the Cascades singles thing told me about one of his best friends. "We finish each other's sentences," he said. "If one of us is under the car, the other knows which tool to hand him and when, without a word."

And how about those people who say they are married to their best friend? I think that must be the case with the Town Hall speakers and poets I hear who can't ever get through a talk without reference to their wives. Washington State Poet Laureate Samuel Green is one, which means any time you hear him speak turns into a romantic evening. Jeremy Rifkin, at Town Hall last month, probably said at least four times, "As my wife always says...."

Here's the kind of friend I am. I sent no Valentines. It didn't even occur to me to send a dear friend a card for her 50th birthday, though I was thrilled to hear the plans her husband was making for the day. I don't take hostess gifts when invited to dinner. Sometimes I don't even like to bring a bottle of wine, but I do love potlucks and when I invite people for dinner, I'm happy for them to arrive empty-handed. I'm happy to bake them a coconut layer cake.

I do try to say yes. That's my chief ethic as a friend. Want to play Scrabble? take a walk? meet for happy hour? ride our bikes? Yes yes yes yes. I want my friends to know that if they really want a buddy to do something with them, for efficiency's sake if nothing else, I'm the first call they should make.

I was talking with my bike buddy recently about how easy he makes things for me when we ride, and how I can't think of a thing I do that adds to his enjoyment in a comparable way. I'm hoping, though, that maybe there is something. Because wouldn't it be wonderful when the things your friends do and the things you do just naturally please each other, and nobody feels like it's work?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

When Life Gives You Lemons...

I felt rich the other day at Fred Meyer: Even there, lemons were 2.99 a pound, and I owned nine of them. My friends in Alameda grew them, and sent me home with them from my recent California trip.

First thing, I made Avgolemono Soup. That's Greek for egg and lemon, sophisticated comfort food for grownups. My friend Susy made me a quart one year when I had a spring cold. It looked like quite a lot, but I polished off one bowl after another at lunch, until there was obviously not enough left to save, so I ate the rest. That’s pretty much how I react to it every time.

Avgolemono Soup

Make or purchase 2-3 quarts of chicken stock. Use two cups to cook 1 c white rice in a big pot. Meanwhile, squeeze 3 or 4 lemons into a mixing bowl. Add 3 or 4 eggs, and whisk smooth. When the rice is done, add another 6 cups or more broth, as needed, to make it soup. The tricky part is, they say to heat the soup to just below boiling. But how can you recognize “just below”? I say boil it, then turn it off and let it sit for five minutes. Then ladle a cup of hot soup out of the pot, immediately whisk it into your egg mixture, then stir it all back into the main soup. It should turn pale yellow and creamy -- or, if you screw it up, have tiny white egg hairs throughout it, where the egg has curdled due to excess heat. But it will still taste great.

If you have time, you can make your stock for the price of buying it, and you’ll have a chicken to eat as well. Just wash the bird, put it in a pot big enough to cover it with water, add a couple teaspoons of salt and miscellaneous vegetables and trimmings: a whole onion (leave the brown skin on for color), several cloves of garlic, a carrot, a stalk of celery, and ideally a parsnip. Simmer, covered, for an hour or until you can fork the meat off the bone. Remove chicken, strain stock, and either chill it so you can lift the congealed fat off the top, or use your baster to suck the stock out from below the fat. Later, you can take the chicken off the bone and, for example, use any extra stock to complete the Dona Maria mole sauce (Safeway) for tomorrow’s dinner. (Which is what I did.)

Now, back to lemons. My favorite lemon dessert bakes up into a layer of creamy pudding with a light cake on top, but you might not picture this from its unfortunate name: Lemon Layer Sponge. Yuck. I encountered it at a residential adult education college in England, where I was (supposedly) learning to produce travel sketchbooks, enhanced by watercolor washes. Oddly, I haven’t done such a sketch since, but I make this dessert whenever lemons are affordable. It would be a light ending to a special meal, except that you’ll want to pour unwhipped heavy cream over it, as they do in England.

Lemon Layer Sponge

Your choice: Either grate the skin of three lemons, then juice the lemons and proceed, or, what I do, strip them with a zester and buzz the zest in my food processor with the sugar. Then separate four eggs into yolks and whites. In a clean, dry bowl, beat the whites until stiff. Place yolks, the aforementioned1-1/2 c sugar, 1/2 c flour, grated (somehow) rind, and 1/4 c butter, melted, in another large bowl; whisk smooth. Add lemon juice and whisk, then 2 c milk, and whisk. Gently fold the beaten whites into the lemon mixture. Pour into a buttered baking dish that fits into another one. I use my 9x12 glass pan inside my 11x17. Pour hot water between pans to about an inch high. (Or skip this complication and just bake the sponge, but it won’t be quite as tender.) Bake at 325 degrees about 40 minutes until golden and just firm to the touch. Sift confectioners sugar thickly over the top, and “serve whilst warm, with cream.”

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Be Mine

Remember when we were kids, and exchanged Valentines at school? Were there years when we left people out? I seem to remember buying a whole pack of cards, and filling out one for every classmate. But surely I studied the cards I received, to see who counted me a special friend. Did they just sign their names, or write an individual message?

I got a Valentine last week from a dear woman friend of mine. It says on the front, "There are good friends, there are best friends, and then there's you."

And, being me, first thought was, So I'm neither a good friend nor a best friend?

Because ever since, oh, Sherry Doxie in elementary school, with her halo of blonde hair, sharer of blueberry jam sandwiches and a love of chemistry sets and microscopes, I've felt like always a bridesmaid, never a maid of honor.

Even at Dryden High School, with Sally Bond. She came from a no-nonsense family. Her folks were older. One, maybe both, were college professors. They had sensible white unbreakable dinnerware and their drinking glasses were rounded like stemless wineglasses. I aspired to the same, for my eventual household. It was Sally and I who listened -- on the LP set -- to Edward Albee's then-hot new play, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

But I wasn't Sally's best friend. We were a threesome, with Pat Bayley, Sally's friend before I moved to Dryden; I was lucky to be included at all.

When I had my bed-and-breakfast in Inverness, CA, I dimly glimpsed one morning through my bedroom window a woman's face in the kitchen window of the adjacent house. The new people had moved in, and she appeared to be my age! A friend who will chat over the back fence, I thought, and pass back and forth emergency teaspoons of baking soda and solitary eggs. We'll run out and say, "Sorry, I just have to scream now," and, "I'll have to tell you later."

It didn't work out that way. So far, it never has. But I think I'm buying a condo, which is possibly another reason that the topic of friends is on my mind. Won't it be something if the other seven units are purchased by people who turn out to be friends!

I'm still thinking about the topic of friends. I plan to write more. What do you have to say about friends? Do you have a best friend? What makes him/her best?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday

No matter what your religious beliefs or lack thereof, you have to admire a church that, once a year, dedicates a whole day to this: "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return."

It's one of my favorite services of the year; I try never to miss it. I had arranged my (thwarted) travel to Louisiana to give me time to get to the church on the LSU campus in Lafayette for the noon service before flying home to Seattle.

But since I didn't leave Seattle, I'll be hearing those word at St Paul's, Queen Anne.

It's easy to forget you're going to die (even when you're as old as I am), and remembering helps. How?

Appreciation for the good and beautiful: the trees coming into bloom all over the city.

Perspective on the difficult: compared to being dead, most things don't look so bad.

Inspiration: Since life doesn't go on forever, how do you like the one you've made? Anything you'd like to add?

Remember: Dust.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Portrait Shoot

You may recall that back in December, I was all excited about getting a photo portrait. But things got busy at the fundraiser, and it never happened.

When I got home Friday night from my day at Seattle Airport, I had a phone message from my friend, photographer Ann-Marie Stillion. She had a special portrait lens, on loan until 9:30 the next morning. Could I come for a portrait session? Of course I could.

Next morning I not only showered, I blew dry my hair. I packed up two different lipsticks and put on a skirt. I wore a black tank top, and had a wraparound sweater as well. I brought hair clips in case we wanted to change my hairstyle.

I would have said I'm a person whose default face setting is a little smile, but apparently not. I never intentionally put on a serious face for the camera, but some of the photos look serious. It's hard smiling so much, when you can't even see the friendly face behind the lens; you're smiling at a camera, for heaven's sake!

Anyway, I picked a new photo for the blog profile. Here are some others. Do you have a favorite? Care to vote for a new portrait? Feedback appreciated, but do be kind....

The Grammy Awards for Excellent Grandchildren

While I was hanging out at the Seattle Airport on Friday, I was browsing the bookstores. (I think what people buy at airport bookstores should be the subject of a special study. I think you buy different things when you're going to be stuck on a plane, or at an airport. But that's another topic.)

So I saw a bright blue book called Your Kids Are Your Own Fault: A Guide For Raising Responsible, Productive Adults by Larry Winget. The display, the whole presentation, made it look like I ought to know who Larry Winget is, but I don't. But since, in general terms, I agree with the thesis of the title, I took a look inside.

The basic idea is this: As a parent, you ought to be thinking about what kind of person you want your child to be by age 35. And then you need to start teaching him or her, by example and instruction, how to master the necessary skills.

Of course I love this idea: I thought it was mine. Would you like your child to have a tidy house? regular home-cooked meals? satisfying employment with adequate remuneration? Would you like your child to be generous? perhaps to take a few moments between work and dinner to sit down with a glass of juice or wine and breathe together? to cultivate a habit of thinking, before bedtime, of what worked and didn't work that day?

If your kids turn out to be that kind of adults, it will probably be your fault.

I'm thinking of this also because of my recent visit to my grandkids in Northern California. I always prefer to be there when I can get their parents to go away. The parents, whom I also love and enjoy, need time on their own, true, but there's just something different about the dynamic when the parents are gone and the kids and I are on our own. And this year, those kids really impressed me.

Audrey, now 15, has always enjoyed cooking with me. She's smart and responsible and loves to read. On the other hand, she's a teenager, which naturally involves some angst, and she can too easily while away the hours with TV -- or at least that was true in the past.

This time, neither Audrey nor Parker, now 7, watched much TV at all. We played made-up variations on Scrabble. We cooked. Parker and I took turns reading Frog and Toad books aloud. But for two special moments out of many, I would like to officially proffer the Grammy Awards to my grandkids.

To Audrey for not only regularly assisting with meals and cleanup -- oh, and lending me her room, which she cleaned beforehand -- but for the afternoon I spent with Parker at soccer practice. First, I got lost, and phoned Audrey at home for directions to the right playing field, which she calmly and accurately described. Second, while we were away, Audrey baked, from scratch, a yellow cake with cream cheese frosting and lemons from the tree, as well as producing a pasta dinner with a homemade marinara sauce.

To Parker, at seven a walker whose pace equals mine, a boy who is diligent in homework and enthusiastic about books, the award is given in honor of social skills. When my friend Esther dropped me off at Parker's school so I could walk him home, she said she'd like to meet him. I think of him as self-contained, and even shy. How would he handle this? I said, "Parker, I'd like you to meet my friend Esther." She put out her hand and said, "It's nice to meet you, Parker." He shook her hand, smiled, made eye contact, and said, "It's nice to meet you too." And carried on a conversation with us.

Honestly, I told the kids I think they would have managed just fine without me or their parents, and what a comment that is on the way they're being raised.

Okay, I'm their Grammy, and I'm proud. That's my job.

PS: When I tried to find the title of the airport book on Amazon, right below it was another title, pretty much its antithesis: It's Not Your Fault that You're Overweight. Believe me, I have a lot of sympathy for people grappling with weight issues, but blaming them on someone else doesn't immediately strike me as helpful.

PPS: You must remember that I was only a stepmom, so my beliefs about child-rearing must be taken with grains of salt.

Dear readers, what's on your list of the kind of people you want your kids to be at 35?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Stories of Romance

An old column from 2007, written for the Port Townsend Leader:

Sharing Stories of Romance for Valentine's Day

You are working on your romantic stories for the Leader competition,
aren’t you? They’re due soon. They won’t let me enter, of course, since I work
for them, but I’m intrigued by the topic.

I’m guessing romance is a recent invention, probably after the Industrial
Revolution. Earlier, they didn’t need it, just as they didn’t need jobs.
They had lives instead, all of a piece. Dad would be pressing the bellows to heat
the fire for the forge -- whuh whuh whuh -- and Mom would be shaping the
massive mounds of dough for the family bread -- slap slap slap -- and it would be
almost time for the cows to be milked -- squeeze squeeze squeeze -- and Dad
would catch Mom’s eye, and she’d hold his glance, not smiling, and call over
her shoulder, “Young Omar, you go milk the cows now, son,” as she untied her
apron strings, and Dad dropped the bellows, and they headed for the loft. Her
name was Valentine, and he made her day.

Or maybe that is romance. By contrast, who honestly wants to be asked “Will you marry me?” via a banner an airplane pulls across the sky? or a billboard? or somebody on
his knees in a public place? These gestures are big, but are they personal? Maybe they were great the first time anyone did them, but now they feel like TV moments -- unless your sweetheart happens to be inaccessible by phone or road, nearly blind, or never alone and very short.

Anyway, I’m eager to read what the men, noted for their no-nonsense ways, write for the Leader. I’m guessing they think it’s very romantic when women leave them alone to watch the football game, occasionally appearing with that spinach dip in the round french
bread loaf, and more beer.

I believe my ex would tell you our most romantic moment was when I
climbed into his hospital bed after his knee surgery and we watched the Academy
awards on television all the way through.

I expect women will describe how terrific it is to fall asleep on that
late, long drive from the ferry, knowing your man will get you home, never
thrown around on the turns or wishing the brake pedal were on the passenger side. Or how it feels to glance up and see your husband, after about a hundred years of marriage, still watching you with unconditional positive regard as you step out of the shower or study the seed catalog.

This seems to me like true romance, paying daily attention to your beloved, and what
pleases him or her. But then what do you do special for Valentine’s Day? For me, I guess
the ideal would be a combination of the everyday and the extravagant.

You bake a French chocolate cake. And then your sweetheart -- why not
Richard Gere? -- phones and says he’ll pick up cracked crab, champagne, and
ciabatta on his way over after work, and when he gets there, you put on your
new Coco Montoya CD and listen to the blues while you eat in front of the
fireplace, in your crummiest old PJs (crab is so messy). Then you have a nice salad
and your chocolate cake. You finish up the champagne, and put on your
throbbiest slow Sam Cooke songs and dance around the house.

Then, kissing. Mmm.

Whoops, I’d better be careful what I say. Because what if some unscrupulous yet highly desirable man studies this column for strategic information and then besieges me with gourmet delicacies and bubbly and blues dancing?

That would be bad, wouldn’t it?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

From Home

Yup. Came home. With $850 in airline vouchers. Glad to be here.

And I kind of feel like I had a vacation, since I read the entire novel, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which sounds like it would be silly, but isn't.

And I still get to dance some zydeco, since Swamp Soul is playing tonight at the Highliner.

I'm putting a bottle of champagne in the fridge for Valentine's Day. I'll buy me some flowers tomorrow. (I'm so romantic!)

Friday, February 12, 2010

From Sea-Tac

My life is crazy lately. I visited a real estate man on Monday to explore the idea of buying a place in Seattle. By Wednesday, I was ready to make an offer on a co-op, but my realtor and I agreed we should stop in first, for comparison and just for the heck of it, to see a condo located right behind where I now live. Well, it’s a great place. I was late for my afternoon Scrabble date because I was looking it over so hard, and then almost late for my Town Hall lecture that night because we were writing up an offer on the condo, not the co-op.

Around noon Thursday, I got word the offer had been accepted and an inspection scheduled at 4 pm. On the way to that, my realtor and I saw another condo in my neighborhood, which just made the one I’m buying look better. So we did the inspection -- the inspector admired my prospective building! -- and did some more paperwork, until I dashed off to put on a skirt and get the #5 to Queen Anne for the Cascade Bicycling Club singles happy hour.

I got four email addresses from guys(!). My assumption was, any man who came to this was looking for women to ride with, so my goal was to meet as many as possible, and find ways to connect later for bike rides with the ones who a) read The Atlantic, or b) seem nice. (I met some really cool women, too.) I got home at around 8, ate leftovers for dinner, and started packing for my trip.

I’m on my way to Lafayette, Louisiana, for Mardi Gras and dancing some zydeco. And on the one hand, what a crazy time to leave, and on the other hand, boy, do I need a break!

So it’s Friday. I should have left Seattle for Dallas-Fort Worth and Lafayette, Louisiana, at 11:30 this morning. It’s 12:40 now, and I’m still in Seattle. I took Amercan Airlines up on the offer of a $350 voucher to delay my flight. Now I’ll leave at 4:15, and they’ll put me up in a Dallas airport hotel and fly me on to Lafayette tomorrow morning. I just confirmed with a friend from Washington DC, already arrived in Lafayette, that I can get a ride with him and his girlfriend to the essential Mardi Gras event, the party at Gerry Spenger’s carport in Breaux Bridge tomorrow afternoon, dancing on concrete to Geno Delafose and his band.

I have another option. Things are so backed up for Dallas-Fort Worth, there’s a good chance I can get myself another $350 voucher by giving up my seat on the 4:15 and staying home entirely. Another reason to forgo the trip is that my roomie, from Portland, got sick, so the entire cost of our room in Lafayette will be on me.

But never mind. I need some zydeco dancing in my life. I’m going to Lafayette. I’m pretty sure.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bike Dating

How cool is this! Cascade Bicycling Club is having a singles happy hour on Thursday, February 11, in Queen Anne. (Read all about it at

Reminds me of a column I wrote in 2008 for the Port Townsend Leader, about Single-Mindedly Biking Port Townsend.

I'm hoping the bike club approach is better.

So I'm the dating expert?

I picked up the February issue of Seattle magazine yesterday at Fremont Branch library. It's the love and sex issue, in honor, I guess, of Valentine's Day. The wonderful Diane Mapes had called me a couple of months ago to get my perspective on dating in your sixties. And there I am, quoted, on page 67!

Essentially, I say I run into more men than women who say they want to find a permanent partner. Which is true, but it's also true that I myself haven't run into the man I want as a permanent partner who also wants me. I do meet men. I had a nice chat with one last night at the Willie Weir presentation at REI, and another one walked me all the way over to Aurora and Denny to get our buses afterward: both married, I noticed via the wedding rings. (And by the way, I so appreciate the men who wear them. Saves on confusion.)

If results are the test, I'm clearly no expert on dating, but I think I'm pretty helpful on living single. I was reviewing my January calendar, and I see I had one party, got together with friends six times, and went to three plays, six lectures, and 12 dances. Seattle is working for me.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

House Hunting

Monday mornings, my to-do list generally includes change sheets, do laundry, clean house. Yesterday, I also had to buy groceries, since I'd eaten my pantry down so low in preparation for the move that didn't happen on January 30 that I had to make substitutions on Sunday to produce brownies (whole wheat flour for white, brown sugar for white. No noticeable difference in product).

But it's been dawning on me, now that my Year of Seattle is complete and I have no intention of moving back to Port Townsend, that keeping my lovely place there for others to rent, while I myself rent something in Seattle, deserves re-thinking.

So yesterday, my to-do list lengthened. I phoned my PT realtor, who'll be getting back to me on comparables in that market. And I phoned Justin Mellon, a young realtor I met when I happened into an open house in my Fremont neighborhood a couple of months back. I appear to be house-hunting.

Justin is soothing, and I need it. He seems to actually believe -- and he does have experience -- that the right place for me will appear. He says his firm recently updated their contractor list, and so is able to assure me that reliable workers exist who can make necessary modifications. My heart sank yesterday at the sight of aging clapboard siding. And then, "Gutters!" I thought. But Justin has people.

I think the best realtors are really psychologists. They listen a lot and stay calm.

But I want my mama! Not that my mom knows much about home buying. If she had to buy one, she's be wanting her Mary. It's just that big decisions, to be made all on my own, bring out the baby in me. The Fear Baby.

I'm not sure why. I'm posssibly kind of good at big purchases. In my marriage, I was the one to bargain when we needed a new car, a new RV. I'd send my husband out to the parking lot to wait.

I'm not talking about that part, though. It's the deeper issues, like what do I deserve in a home? And before that even, what can I afford? Because that depends on how long I live, and who can know? I decided some years ago that I can never acquire -- or at least, I'm not willing to do what's necessary to acquire -- all the reserve the finance pros say one needs. Still, I want some reasonable prospect of continuing food and dance money.

As for what I deserve, I saw a teensy Green Lake co-op yesterday. I'm not sure where my round oak table would fit, let alone a desk. It sure seems affordable, but choosing it would make about as much sense as buying that stupid $25 foam loveseat in 1973 for my first home, when an actual couch might have let my husband and I comfortably sit next to each other and stay married (but that's another story).

As I write, I'm talking to myself on the page, and I hear myself saying what's true: My Port Townsend model, where I own a house with a rental unit, is a good model for me. I want convenient access to the #5 and 44 buses, a little garden, good light, and a Southern exposure. Justin is going to help me find it.

Meanwhile, I'm month-to-month in my Fremont apartment. Time to unpack the boxes and move back in?

Willie Weir at REI tonight!

My cycling hero, Willie Weir, is appearing tonight, at REI's flagship Seattle store at 7 pm. He'll make you laugh, cry, and leave inspired -- preferably, on a bike. It's only $5 (except Cascade Bicycle Club members get in two-for-one: any smart single biker guys wanna meet me at the door?) Willie's topic tonight: Cheap urban bike touring -- a trip to Portland.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Anniversary Day

This is the anniversary day. One year ago, February 2, 2009, I followed the U-Haul across the Hood Canal Bridge, onto the Kingston Ferry, and onward to my upper Fremont apartment. Memory may be deceiving me, but I don't think I ever doubted I'd done the right thing.

What a person needs, though...making a move brings those issues into relief.

My actual home, for example. In Port Townsend, I lived in a jewel, 735 square feet designed by my ex and me for comfort, style, and efficiency. The window in my bedroom looked into the neighbor's old pine tree. I saw western tanagers once in that tree. On either side of the propane fireplace that is the heater are two high small windows. When Jon marked their location on the sheetrock during the remodel, he drew in branches and a bird, predicting the view just right.

The apartment is over a two-car garage, high and flooded with light. The row of windows across the front of the living/dining/kitchen space featured the Olympics.

I had a 15x15 vegetable garden, fenced from the eager deer, and an entry courtyard with benches which the sarcococca are no doubt scenting with honey at this very moment.

Inside and out, my Port Townsend place is a pale butter yellow, sunshine on a cloudy day. Boy, was all that hard to leave. I think if my Fairy Godmother offered me one wish, it would be to transport that place to Seattle.

And it could land pretty much where I live in my apartment today, not far from Marketime and my favorite buses and a walk through Woodland Park to Green Lake, though a spot just a couple of blocks west would mean I'd still have the Olympics view I treasured in PT.

If I got a second wish, it would be that my PT friends were somehow never more than 15 minutes away. I'm making wonderful new friends in Seattle, but there's no friend like an old friend.

Would I find people to bike with? I wondered. Yes, I have, and more important, I've learned there are always bikers out in Seattle, unfailingly encouraging and helpful.

I almost always get to dance three times a week. I hear fascinating speakers all the time at Town Hall, the library, UW, and REI. Twice I went to fine concerts at the church at SPU, and I'm a subscriber now to Seattle Public Theater at Greenlake Bathhouse.

What's new ahead? I'm still hoping for a man who'd like to create a true partnership. And if that doesn't work, maybe I'll try a cat or a roommate for companionship. I've only had a couple of Cascade hikes, and no snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, so that's on my list. And I'm still seeking my volunteer niche; a friend has a lead for what I like best: working with young kids on reading and writing.

I have found a church I love, St Paul's, Queen Anne, spiritually and intellectually stimulating. Some Sundays I just sit there quietly leaking tears for reasons deeper than consciousness, and that's a blessing.

The Port Townsend drapes do work in my Seattle digs, but as you may recall, I'm looking for a more permanent Seattle home. Embarrassingly, after my delight in "just knowing" I'd found the new right place, I hadn't. I like small, but it turned out to be 450 square feet, which is just too small.

So I'm looking again, but trying not to let it overtake my life. And that's tough. The temptation is either to start every morning with craigslist and a frantic attempt to see and lock down a place before somebody else snaps it up, or to ignore the possibilities entirely. I'm thinking achieving perspective on a middle path may be my present challenge.

Because you know, there's always something. And when there isn't, either you are dead, or you might as well be. At least that's how it looks to me today.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Random thoughts...

I haven't been posting so often lately, because it's time for the Big Post: I moved to Seattle, experimentally, a year ago. I need to review that year. It's daunting.

So instead, let me tell you about yesterday, when I had the great pleasure of rolling my carry-on 2 1/2 blocks from my apartment to the #5 bus stop, then getting on the #194 to the airport. $2 and less than 90 minutes, plus some good conversation. For example, everybody on the bus got involved in answering the guy's question about where to get off the 5 to get on the 358 going the other way. And a couple with suitcases was headed for Las Vegas, prompting the obvious question: Why? Except that now when you go to Las Vegas, you get Paris and Italy as well as Nevada.

I flew Virgin America for the first time. Boarding was delayed briefly. Is that why they had a runway contest, or is that a regular practice? They asked for volunteers to compete with their best runway walks to some thumpy music. The rest of us were supposed to applaud to determine the winner. Hmmm. Showed a happy spirit at least.

On the plane, where Wi-Fi and TV are available at your seat, all the time, it was dark. Almost every window shade was down. I had a window seat, and watched the surf along the coast and the snow-dusted mountaintops down the Oregon coast. I fell asleep, and woke just as we flew over Point Reyes, that distinctive triangular peninsula where I used to live.

I waited in the warm sunshine for the Sonoma Airporter, soaking in the vitamin D.

My stepdaughter had fixed a special dinner: roast pork, mashed potatoes, granddaughter Audrey's salad. Then my 7-year-old grandson and I got to take turns reading Frog and Toad books before I tucked him in. This morning I walked him to school.

Those last two items in particular always make me think of looking at local real estate. But Seattle is home now. If I start looking at real estate it will be there.

And more on that topic soon.

All material copyright © 2009 by Mary Davies