De-Cluttering, 101 (First Post)

After forty-one years of living in our house, we have forty-one years of stuff to get rid of. It was not clear where we should begin, but Don said we should start in the “hobby room,” a room we intended (in the early 1970s when we were planning the house) that we would use for craft projects. It has the potential for hot and cold water connections and 240 volt  electrical service, in case we ever wanted our own pottery kiln. Those were never completed. Instead, when all three kids were still home, the room was used as a guest room for long-term guests, once a visiting student at The Overlake School, and again our niece from Omaha. As the kids left, Jeff’s room became Don’s study, Judy’s room became the guest room, and John’s room held overflow toys from the rec room. The hobby room filled up with camping and hiking gear, luggage, legal papers (from Don’s legal career), giant packages from Costco, stuff the kids stored here, mementos from the children’s childhoods, a doll house project I started and abandoned, and photographs from my parents’ apartment. (When I emptied my parents’ apartment in Omaha in February, 1995, I didn’t know what to do with all their photograph albums, so I sent them to my home in Seattle. Big mistake.)

I started with my parents’ photographs. My father was a terrible photographer but he kept every snapshot he ever took, and my mother dutifully installed them in albums. She also fastened on to those pages every snapshot of anyone in the family that any of us ever sent her, and these were simply added to books where there were free pages, in no particular order, not by family group or season or chronologically. So my first task, and a very difficult one, was to go through those albums and remove any photo that might have meaning to me or to the rest of the family. I sorted the keepers into piles–my immediate family was one, each of my brothers had one pile, and one each to cousin families. Most of the pictures and the albums went right into the recycle bin. There were page after page of generic scenes in Israel, with no labels or recognizable landmarks. It was hard; I gave the wastebaskets to Don and said, “Take them out quick, I may change my mind.” Eventually I will designate one sibling in my brothers’ families to receive and distribute their photos and send them off. Finally in summer of 2016 I am completing the task I should have done in 1995.

 

Posted in Camping and Hiking Equipment, De-Cluttering, Family, On Aging, Photographs, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

One More Comment on Public Transportation

The Laurelhurst Blog picked up my posts on public transportation and re-published them, and one of their readers, Larry, was kind enough to comment on them. He pointed out some mistakes that I had made, and thought that Children’s Hospital would not be happy that we had parked in their lot. Here’s my response to Larry:

“Thank you, Larry, for responding to my posts on public transportation. I have had an ORCA card for some time but rarely used it, and didn’t know about the two hour window when I could ride different systems without paying again. So I think you’re saying that when we went to Redmond from a Metro #32 bus to a  Sound Transit bus, the whole trip was covered by the first swipe of my ORCA Senior card? If that’s true, then that’s good news.

“As far as parking at Children’s Hospital, the first time we parked in their lot we called security beforehand to ask permission, and we were told, fine, no problem. The second trip we found a space on the street, and the third time their lots were full. But in spite of what security told us, I’m not comfortable parking in their lots and try to discourage my associate from doing that.”

So thanks to Larry, here’s what I know now: when I swipe my card for the first bus or train, whether it’s Metro or Sound Transit, I’m covered for up to two hours of travel on those two systems–but not for the Monorail! However, Larry said I could get off the train at Westlake and take a Rapid Ride bus–those are the red ones–on 3rd Avenue that will take me to Seattle Center at no additional charge.

I think this is the end of posting about public transportation. Next I want to write about old love letters.

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Third Try, Public Transportation from Laurelhurst

Our children moved from Queen Anne to Redmond. Nice for them, but they took our grandchildren with them. On this lovely Friday, April 15, our granddaughter Nina was scheduled to play Baloo in a student production of the Jungle Book at 4 p.m. in a theatre in Kirkland. Our daughter-in-law suggested that we should come early, to the Redmond Transit Center (RTC)  in the heart of Redmond and she would pick us up there. So once again we set out to park near Children’s Hospital, but this time, on a weekday, the lots were full. We found a place to leave the car on a residential street north of the hospital, and walked three blocks to the intersection of Sand Point Way and 40th Ave NE. It seemed to take a long time for a bus to arrive, but soon we were on our way to the U of W campus. The bus left us at Rainier Vista, and we started down the path toward the stadium, Montlake Blvd, and Bay # 1.

This was a conundrum. Don had learned that we must take Sound Transit bus #542 to get to the RTC. Sound Transit is not the same as our Seattle Metro. Transfers won’t work, and the information people don’t know much about it. We were told the bus would stop at Bay #1, at the intersection of Montlake and NE Pacific Street, but there are several bus stops at that intersection and no one could tell us where to find Bay #1. Now we know to start from Rainier Vista toward the stadium, but just before reaching the bridge over Montlake Blvd, veer to the right and follow a path down to street level, aiming for a huge black W. Cross NE Pacific Street there, and the three or four bus shelters in a row are all Bay #1.

Where we went wrong: we had seen Bay #4 at the long bus stop on Montlake Blvd across the street from the stadium, and we assumed that the stops marked for buses there would be #s 1, 2, 3, and 4. That was wrong. A passerby told us to walk toward the hospital, and just as we reached Pacific Street, we saw bus #542 pulling away. The light was red for us and the street full of cars. Jumping up and down and waving didn’t impress the driver. By the time we could cross the street, the bus was gone. Buses to Redmond come half an hour apart. We settled in to the first shelter to wait. All together it took one and three quarters hours to get from our house to the RTC, and a few minutes longer to access our daughter-in-law.

For your information, Bay #1 is on the south side of NE Pacific Street; directly across the street is Bay #2, where the 542 Redmond bus returns. Bay #4 is on the west side of Montlake across from the stadium, and Bay #3 is on the east side. Coming home, we could have been taken back to the RTC, taken the 542 bus to Bay #2, walked up past the black W and caught a Metro bus to our car near Children’s–we could have done that, but we didn’t. Our son drove us back to our car, crossing on the new 520 bridge. Next time we visit Redmond, I think we’ll take our own car.

Special to Laurelhurst: these buses (31, 32, 65, 67, and 75) go from Sand Point Way and 40th NE to Rainier Vista on the U of W campus, the drop-off spot for reaching Light Rail and Metro and Sound Transit buses that leave from Bays #1,2,3,and4. The Laurelhurst bus 78 does not stop at Sand Point Way and 40th NE, but it does stop at Rainier Vista. Metro refers to the area around the Light Rail Station and the University Hospital as “University Station.” Of all the printed bus schedules for buses that go to Rainier Vista, none shows a map of University Station. Only the printed schedule for bus 78 has a map of University Station, with all its bays.

 

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PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION FROM LAURELHURST, Part Two

One week after the trips described in the post just before this one, on a Sunday when we had an event at Seattle Center again, we tried again. Left our car near Children’s Hospital again, and waited on the corner of NE 40th and Sand Point Way NE for the #32 bus. It arrived exactly on time. We swiped our ORCA cards, rode past University Village, through the U of W campus, out on 15th NE, down toward Boat Street, wandered through streets paralleling the ship canal, and finally to Fremont. Across the Fremont Bridge, turned west on Nickerson, south on 15th W, up a hill to Mercer, and hopped off at Queen Anne Ave and Mercer Street. Because it had taken us only one hour, we had time to pick up a sandwich at a shop along the way to our event. Coming home, we took the #32 bus again, all the way to Children’s Hospital, one hour, $1 apiece. So the whole trip for the two of us was $4. Could we park at Seattle Center for $4? I doubt it. Maybe public transportation from Laurelhurst works. If you have the time. If it isn’t raining. If you have a car to leave at the bus stop.

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TAKING LIGHT RAIL FROM LAURELHURST, almost

GREAT NEWS! On Saturday, March 19, the light rail stations at the UW Stadium and at Capitol Hill finally opened. Don and I were among the thousands who gathered to celebrate and ride free. We did it all: left our house at the top of the hill and walked down to the Center for Urban Horticulture, walked across the landfill that is now a nature reserve, and made it to the celebration, 2.2 miles. We walked around, talked to different groups about other ways to get to the station, ate fried chicken sandwiches and rode, free and standing up, from UW Stadium to Westlake and then back. (Several people offered us seats in the section for elderly and disabled, but we declined.) Back at UW, we re-traced our steps, across the nature reserve, up the hill that is called “suicide hill” by the athletes who train by running up and down, and home, another 2.2 miles. Altogether 4.4 miles.

Next day, Sunday March 20, we had tickets to a play at the Seattle Center at 2, and there was a Bernie Sanders rally scheduled for that same afternoon, doors opening at 2. We knew parking would be difficult. Time for public transportation!

Don researched the available buses available on Sundays, and found three, the #65, #45, and #32, all stopping at 40th NE and Sand Point Way. We parked our car at noon near Children’s Hospital, and just as we were leaving it we saw a #65 pulling away. OK, two hours until curtain, that should be enough. We waited and waited. Finally a #32 arrived and took us on to the UW campus, $1 each on our senior ORCA cards. It left us at a stop near the HUB, and we walked about two blocks to the next stop at Rainier Vista, which wasn’t marked for a 32 stop. Too bad, because there is a lovely walk from that stop directly to an overpass and into the light rail station. We swiped our ORCA cards, again it was free, and took the elevator down many feet to P, which we decided stands for “Platform.” (There were no explanations for the other abbreviations.)

Once on board the train, we zoomed to Westlake Station once again, walked up three or four flights of stairs to the Monorail ($1 apiece for seniors) and rode sitting down to Seattle Center. We walked through the Armory, cut through several lines of well-behaved citizens waiting to enter the Key Arena, and arrived at our theatre at 1:25. One and a half hours from leaving home to entering the theatre.

When the play was over, we could have re-traced our steps. Instead we decided to take a bus all the way back. We walked to First Ave W, and waited across the street from the post office. There was an unmarked bus parked in front of the arena, no driver in sight. We decided the driver was on a break. While other buses passed, none worked for us. Finally the parked bus started up–it was the #32! Hooray! We hopped on board, swiped our senior ORCA cards ($1) and rode by a very circuitous route north on 15th W to Nickerson, over the Fremont Bridge, up Fremont about one block, and then circling through the residential neighborhoods, the UW campus and finally Sand Point Way, we found our car at Children’s Hospital. Total time for the trip: one hour. Total cost: $1 twice for two bus rides, $1 each for monorail,  $3 apiece for transportation, $6 for two. If we had paid for the light rail, it would have cost $2 more for the two of  us. Could we have found parking at Seattle Center for $8? Possibly for even less.

Now watch for Part 2.

 

 

 

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Goldie’s Birthday Party at Schilling Cider House

Goldie's Birthdays PartyThis year I was lucky enough to have my birthday fall on a Wednesday, my hiking day, so I could celebrate with a big group of hiking friends. Mike Cory planned a hike beginning at his house that took us partway around Green Lake and then across Aurora on a bridge to the Zoo. Then we walked through the rose garden and on to Fremont Ave, where we walked down to the Schilling Cider House in Fremont, across the street from Waiting for the Interurban and JP Patches and Gertrude sculptures.

Earlier, Don and I had picked up two great cakes at the QFC bakeshop, Bavarian Fruit Fantasies (that’s what I call them, I don’t know what the baker calls them). These are two layers of white cake with whipped cream between the layers and on the sides, and beautiful glazed fresh fruit on top. We took them to the cider house where Sarah, the manager, stored them in the cooler until lunch. Then we drove to Mike’s house and joined the others for the walk. When everyone was gathered, Sarah poured and everyone tried all the ciders of their choice, to go along with their brown bag lunches and the beautiful cakes.

Isn’t that a great way to celebrate an 83rd birthday? Sheila Cory took the picture with her cell phone. That’s Sarah, the manager, in a black shirt, high up at the top of the crowd. Did I mention that she’s our granddaughter?

Posted in Camping and Hiking Tips, Food, Hiking, On Aging, Seattle, Uncategorized, Urban Hiking | Leave a comment

ACT Theatre’s New Core Company

Seven great actors will form the Core Company at ACT in 2016, an innovation by new artistic director John Langs–that’s him on the right.  The others, from the left:  G Valmont Thomas, seated; Kirsten Potter; R Hamilton Wright; Connor Toms; Jasmine Jean Sim; Keiko Green; Lorenzo Roberts; John Langs.

I am a long-time fan of Val Thomas and Bob Wright, both very talented actors who have brought many different and difficult roles to life on Seattle stages. I am especially following Val Thomas, whom we have seen at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and though we never saw him there, he’s spent a few seasons teaching at our alma mater, the University of Nebraska, in the Drama Department. Looking forward to meeting and seeing the other five, who will have roles in at least three productions during ACT’s 2016 season. (You did know that I am now on the board of ACT Theatre, didn’t you?)

ACT Theatre's photo.
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SHOW ME YOUR FACE, One Year Later

People ask me why I chose to publish my novel, SHOW ME YOUR FACE, as an independent project rather than try to find a conventional publisher. Lots of reasons. My experience with publishers was not always happy.

When HOLD THE FAT, SUGAR & SALT was first accepted by Perigee Books, a division of The Putnam Publishing Group, my co-author and I were ecstatic. Then Perigee released Hold the Fat without an index (corrected in the second printing). We pointed out to our editor that the contract required an index and the proof did not have one, but she said it was too late and we had such a great table of contents we didn’t need an index, and we were stuck with that. HOLD THE FAT was my favorite of our four cookbooks; it’s out of print now.

Our contract with Perigee included an option for our next book, We were ecstatic about that, too,  but when we were ready to write the next book, we learned that Perigee expected us to first produce a complete manuscript and then wait 45 days while they decided whether or not to accept it. That next book was a collection of recipes that were “fast and fantastic!” (Says so on the cover.) We wanted to call it “THE CLOCK WATCHERS LOW-FAT,LOW-SALT COOKBOOK,” emphasizing the speed of  prepping these recipes, but the editors thought “clock watchers” was pejorative. Instead they came up with THE QUICK AND DELICIOUS LOW-FAT, LOW-SALT COOKBOOK. Really snazzy!

Moving on, I wrote BACKPACKING WITH BABIES AND SMALL CHILDREN. I was really happy at first with Wilderness Press in Berkeley. Backpacking with Babies had first been published by Signpost Books, and then when they allowed it to go out of print, Wilderness picked it up for second and third editions. I chose a wonderful photo for the cover of the second edition, but the third edition came out with no cover consultation at all! I made sure that my contract for CAMPING WITH KIDS, my next book with Wilderness,  included cover approval. (For more information about my books, go to Goldie’s Books in the heading of this blog.)

So we come to SHOW ME YOUR FACE. I spent many years thinking about this book and wrote it with many interruptions. Over the years I had submitted queries and chapters to various agents and publishers, and always they took weeks and weeks to finally respond. And then the response was, “show us a complete manuscript.” I finished the manuscript in late 2014. I knew I would turn 82 on my 2015 birthday. I knew from my experiences with publishers that it could take months and months, sometimes a year and a half, to publication, and I wasn’t sure that I would have that much time. So I turned to CreateSpace, the publishing division of Amazon. Now I am not only author and publisher, but also chief of marketing. I am a bookseller, in addition to everything else. Marketing is a pain! Should I have waited, and found a publisher? I don’t know. What do you think?

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My Mother’s Strudel

Just  a few bites left--strudel disappears very quickly

Just a few bites left–strudel disappears very quickly

My mother was not a great cook, but she was famous for two things: her tayglech and her strudel. Both of these delicacies are two bite snacks, good with tea or coffee or milk, if you’re young enough. Her tayglech, which translates roughly from Yiddish as “little bites of dough,” were unique, not just a blob of dough cooked in honey, which is what some people think of when they think of tayglech, but a morsel of dough with neshomah, soul, snail-shaped dough with a filling of cherry preserves and nuts and then cooked in honey. That’s for another time. About strudel…

When I say strudel lots of people ask if I mean apple or cherry strudel, as made in Vienna, a big serving of fruit wrapped in flaky dough that requires a fork and is more like a pie than a cookie. My mother’s strudel is finger-food, flaky-tender dough wrapping a mixture of fruity fillings that was never the same twice. Basically it was raisins with crushed pineapple plus orange marmalade plus any opened jam or fruit preserves in the fridge that needed to be used up. So sometimes there was cherry preserves, or apricot or strawberry or other good things, but always good tasting.

My mother always said she would “make up a batch of strudel.” A few weeks ago, when we were invited to a friend’s Sabbath dinner, I decided that I would make up a batch of strudel, and I did. It was so easy, and so much fun. I decided that I could do that easily, strudel would be my signature dish. I would make strudel once a month. Easy. That was in October. I haven’t made strudel since. Now it is December. What happened to November? What happened to the strudel?

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