Category Archives: West Seattle

52 WoLP: #33-35: hot town, summer in the city….

A long time ago, eons it seems, I started blogging. It was great, the whole brave new world of Web 2.0 (sounds so antiquated now) was exciting. A little later I started playing around with Flickr, then Facebook, then twitter, then tumblr, then….well, then I started feeling a teensy bit addicted to the constant connection.

What has that got to do with Lincoln Park in West Seattle, you might wonder….good question. In the past couple of years, I’ve tried to stay offline for longer chunks of time now and again. Usually when I find myself mindlessly posting and surfing.

I’m feeling a little bit encouraged that others might be going offline when I see how traffic has dropped on all the usual haunts. This has happened every summer for the last few years, and this year seems to be a banner year for disconnecting. Don’t get me wrong, I still think the Internet machine is cool; I just also think summer is pretty hot, as in awesome,and we should all go where the energy is.

So….I don’t have a lot to say about Lincoln Park because I’m actually out playing in Lincoln Park…and various other parks, campgrounds, lakes, beaches, hiking trails, etc etc. And I pointedly have avoided posting, tweeting, uploading, commenting, or sharing online about most of it.

The fact is we are having the best summer in anyone’s memory up here in Seattle, and I as well as everyone I know can’t get enough of it. So much goodness, I’m starting to feel a little tuckered out by it all, but that won’t stop me from going full throttle till the rains come.

So my project, 52 Weeks of Lincoln Park, has taken a wee hit this summer, but it’s all good, it’s for the best possible reasons: summer this year is drop dead gorgeous.

I’ll close with a few things I’ve noticed and loved in the park the past couple of weeks: how the setting sun hits the coppery bark of the madrones; how everyone and their brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles, seals, osprey, and eagles are out at the point fishing; how the leaves fall on the surface of the Colman pool as you swim down the lane, letting you know in the most poetic way what time of year it is; how the trails are dusty like they get after a season of hard play and warm temps.

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So, till the rains start, you’ll find me outside loving every last minute of this fabulous summer.

Enjoy!

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52 WoLP #23: what we talk about when we talk about sharing the Park

A couple of things while walking through Lincoln Park this week, and they both have to do with sharing. West Seattle has more people in it than ever before, and that means Lincoln Park does too. By a mile.

We share the park with each other, which sometimes requires grace and skill, and we share the park with creatures, which always requires TLC and respect.

The first story involves a sea otter–did you know we have them? They’re interesting creatures: live in the water, hang out on the shore rocks sometimes, and make their homes on terra firma, in the bushes or under structures, etc. The one I saw this week, and who is making regular appearances down at the water’s edge, was finishing up dinner and just chillin on the beach. At the same time, a large group of elementary age kids was rambunctiously making its way up the walkway.

The kids and teachers stopped to watch the otter, along with the rest of us. Then a couple of the girls edged closer and closer until finally they chased the otter back into the water. I mentioned to one of the adults that that was actually illegal, it’s against the law to harass marine mammals on shore, and she shrugged as if the kids were making the rules now.

I don’t want to get all in the teacher’s biz, but wasn’t that, oh I don’t know, a LEARNING OPPORTUNITY? . Yeah, I think it was. The kids need to learn we share the park. We share nature. We don’t own it.

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The next opportunity came just yesterday when I was walking down the center trail to the shore at sunset–a little dusky, a beautiful evening. I hear voices behind me, yelling back and forth, approaching quickly. Before I have a chance to turn and look, three cyclists come racing by at full speed, downhill, about two inches of margin between them and me. Then another. And another, and yes, several more. I finally stop and look behind me and there are even more barreling down the trail. I ask how many more, and someone says, a lot! I’d say there were about 30 twenty-somethings in all.

So I step back onto the trail and let them know I’m going to keep walking and they need to slow down for pedestrians, which they immediately do and I give them full credit for that. They’re just having fun, and I understand the allure of that trail, I’m a bike rider and live for the downhill. But at one point I was nearly nailed against a tree by a guy who didn’t know the trail tightens up at one turn and then another.

Again, they need to balance their fun with the rights of others on the trail to feel and be safe, not to mention the creatures that cross the trail all the time. I never thought I’d say this to bike people, but that gang needs to share the road better.

So, the park is busy. We all love it. So, in the immortal words of Sgt. Esterhaus, hey, let’s be careful out there.

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52 WoLP is a year long dear diary to my favorite park in Seattle. Enjoy!

52 WoLP #16: Saturday in The Park (can you dig it?*)

This Saturday, in the Park, 10:30 – 2:30: first ever Celebrate Lincoln Park event! Here’s what you do: come to the park, at the entrance there will be an enticing menu of activities for everyone, kids to big kids and the biggest kids of all–adults.

click here for the deets.

It’ll be a low tide and the Aquarium will have a couple naturalists on hand to explore the tide flats; we’ll have resident experts leading walks through the park exploring the flora and fauna (that’s trees, flowers and birds to the rest of us:-); we’ll have sketching and writing in nature sessions, and down in the driftwood, sculpture making, and more. Go here for more, but be sure to get your beautiful nature-self to the park this Saturday!

*Saturday in the park (can you dig it?) by the Pleistocene era rock band Chicago.

52 Weeks of Lincoln Park is a year long exploration of the beautiful gem of West Seattle, it’s history, nature, essence and presence.

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52WoLP #11: the secret lives of Lincoln Park (Happy 1st Day of Spring)

There’s the beach trail and the bluff trail; the playgrounds, old fashion zip line, wading pool and picnic shelters; the ball fields and, of course, the Colman pool. These are the places we all know and use and appreciate. There are other places, a little bit secret, not so much for us humans, although we definitely benefit from them.

I was looking at a parks dept map of Lincoln Park the other day and was sort of impressed by the forest areas. Forest. Take a look at the list:

Lincoln Park Forests: particularly H, B, G and J

Lincoln Park Forests: notice particularly H, B, G and J

This is cool, because those areas are part of what makes LP the most excellent park it is. HBG and J are beautiful and sort of urban-wild. There are nicely tended trails through and around them, and at this time of year, those forested areas are extremely active…and their inhabitants particularly vulnerable. Why? Nesting. Lots and lots of nesting going on, nest building and baby making by the ones who sing beautiful songs, flit in and out of trees and bushes and make us feel a little bit more alive and in touch with nature. Here are a few of those creatures, maybe you’ve seen one or two?

And this is just a little tiny smidge of the secret lives happening in LP right now and through Spring/ Summer. So, keep an eye out, take it easy in areas H, B, G and J–we’re just visiting where they live. And many of them live pretty close to the ground, so if you are a dog walker, best to stay on paths, keep your dog on a leash and enjoy the beautiful music of the forests.

**H/t to Trileigh for her bird notes and help
52 Weeks of Lincoln Park, a year long project: #11

52 Weeks of Lincoln Park: LP Watch

The thing is, there’s always something going on. Obviously there are the seasonal and weather related things, there’s the tides and shifting cliffs and such. But there’s also this other stuff–science projects, maintenance projects, projects out of the blue, who-knows-what-this-is projects. You go to the park several times a week and you’ll see what I mean: it’s rarely the same.

So #5 of 52WoLP curiosities: a fog collection project, somewhat ill-considered radical-pruning, and a pair of antique water skis, circa 1965.

First up: passive fog collection project by a UW student, studying anew a technique of harvesting water that’s been around for a very long time. It’s pretty cool in that its ridiculously simple, and it will be down by the Colman Pool until April. Happy collecting!

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Second up: ugly I mean, ill considered pruning, south end of park and near the first parking lot:

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And finally: someone neatly placed a pair of very old water skis at the south end parking lot for our viewing pleasure. Most years, towards the end of summer, it’s warm enough for some impressive water skiing and wake riding to take place in the cove. I suspect that at some point these very skis saw a few good runs in their day, and have been returned for their final ride home.

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52 weeks of Lincoln Park: the art of nature

Week #4 finds us careening towards February, which means Valentine’s day which means love. Denise Dahn, another West Seattle artist and Lover of Lincoln Park, sent me a couple of photos of a few of her favorite things in Lincoln Park: The Dancing Otter and The Cedar & Doug entwined trees.

The otter is down along the water, north of the pool, and Cedar & Doug can be found on the trail that heads east from the fence trail, between the main Colman Pool trail down, and the Beach Trail a little further South. Well, might’s well just take all the trails, you’ll love it.

Cedar & Doug have grown together and are completely entwined at this point, roots, trunk and all.  They make a stunningly beautiful couple.

I added of my faves, too–what Denise calls the Pock Marked tree ( a tree which has become a virtual cafeteria for flickers and woodpeckers, and they are so systematic, it’s awesome) and finally, a semi permanent text based outdoor installation of found objects 😉
If you have any faves, let me know or share them here. Coming up soon: the birds of spring.

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Days 308-313: MLwC and random New Year Thoughts

It’s going to be a very good year. I got a new squirrel feeder for Christmas from my nephew’s kids who are smitten with our resident squirrels, all of whom are named (of course) Sandy. The new feeder is the one they use in some state parks, and is pretty cool, looks like this:

Squirrel Feeder

Ours is rougher than this, but the same idea. So far, the stellar jays have made it their own because Sandy is accustomed to coming to the door for direct hand-outs, but they’ll find it soon enough.

A friend of mine in Sandpoint, ID, where we spent some lovely days this week snowshoeing, eating well and playing, was wondering what kind of bird feeder she could get that would keep squirrels and other varmints out, and after years of experimentation, I suggested the one we’ve currently got which is the only one that not only feeds our target audience of finches, chickadees, juncos, and others, but keeps the local ring tail doves from chowing down every last shred of food, and the jays and the flickers and others. They get the scattered seed on the ground as well as other treats, but will clean out your store of small bird feed quick as you can say Yipes. This feeder is called a Squirrel Buster and you can

It looks like this:

Squirrel buster bird feeder

So why should anyone care about this, other than because having song birds around is a pleasant thing? Especially in urban settings, habitat loss is a real threat and food sources become key–not just to resident bird populations but to migratory birds as well. Most of us don’t consider that our homes may be part of a larger migratory pattern and some species may actually come to rely on food we supply to get where they’re going. I know the Wilson’s Warblers and Varied Thrushes come through our yard at specific times every year, on their way somewhere…who knows where, but they show up like clock work. At our house, we’ve participated in a number of backyard and neighborhood bird counts that help larger organizations like Cornell Ornithology Labs and Nature Conservancy track movements of populations through urban areas.

“The greatest threat to songbird populations is habitat loss and fragmentation in their wintering and breeding grounds, and along their migratory routes. Birds must find rest areas with an adequate food and water supply to enable them to continue their journey. Conservationists are placing greater importance on these stopover points hoping to reverse the trend of songbird decline. “

So, making a sweet spot in your own backyard could have untold positive benefits for bird populations that you might not even realize! It all counts, and anyway, the heralding sound of song birds in late February is a treat not to be missed.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Daily Stats: (Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon, Tue)
Car: 8.5 (three tasks)
Bike: 0
Ped: approx 10 miles
Bus: 0

Day 291: MLwC and green holidays

We have a house nearby our West Seattle home that is a veritable beacon of light every holiday season. Literally, you can see it for miles, if not smell it. There’s something about that many lights burning bright in the night that smells like…well, like electricity or something. People drive from miles around to see this house; the family has a big crane come out to drape the evergreens with the longest strings of light I’ve ever seen–and these aren’t LED lights, they’re the real deal.

I can’t imagine how much energy they burn, and I’m not sure what all this has to do with the holidays or the birth of Jesus. If I were a believer, I would be confused, if not offended, to have Jesus and the whole entourage within 4 inches of a rockin’ rendition of Santa and his merry reindeers. Every motif in the world is going on in that yard, with grostesque results. But I will admit: the kids love it. And it IS a neighborhood tradition.

So, in this season of good cheer and energy consumption, is it a total faux pax to consider the environmental impact of all these lights?

LED lights are all the craze, and that’s great because they use soooo much less energy than the big honkers. And you might want to put your lights on a timer, the christmas tree too–so you don’t forget and leave ’em on.

Everybody seems to be in the mood for one reason or another to simply buy less this year. I know we’re looking forward to spending at least some of our budget traveling to spend real time with those near and dear–a better gift for all of us, or at least we hope so. We’re thinking: share more time, meals, tea, coffee, whatever with your friends and family, and focus less on the mountain of gifts we’ve all come to dread. You dread getting stuff you don’t want, they dread buying it. Why do we persist in this madness?

Whatever you do buy, make sure it’s as recycleable, reusable, renewable as possible. Avoid the stuff with lots of packaging material. Maybe the companies that do that will get a hint.

And if you’re hosting dinner, etc, remember: Cloth napkins, real dishes and flatware. Just think how happy the earth will be to not get more plastic “presents” in landfills all because you did it differently this year. You go, you!

Daily Stats:

Car: 0
Bike: 0
Ped: 3
Bus: 0

Days 285-286: MLwC and it’s a Green Thing Christmas

Go ahead and have an irreverent chuckle with the new green-idea-of-the-month video for December. Do the Green Thing , it’s all in good fun. The idea is: buy something old this Christmas, or maybe nothing at all, and try to remember what Christmas is really all about. Now, there’s a radical act!

Seattle rain thanks to Creative TechThanks to CreativeTechs

So, up here in the northwest we’re reminded again what global climate change means to us: rain, rain and then, for good measure, more rain. Streets and freeways closed, basements flooded, and just way more water than the infrastructure is able to handle. This has been happening more each year–we just broke the previous rain record set in 2003.

Tim Flannery in The Weather Makers discusses in fine detail how global climate change will likely play out and one of the things he notes is rapid and extreme fluxuations in weather–where there was rain before, there will be massive flooding; where there was desert, there will be ongoing drought. The extremes will increase on all fronts. That appears to be happening.

One last thing: UN committee on Global Climate Change meets in Bali this week. Watch for the year 2020 to become a media buzzword in the next few months–it’s the watershed year for change that many scientists and scientific panels have agreed upon–the do or die date. It’s not a bad thing–clear dates and timelines always help focus the mind.
Daily Stats: (Mon, Tue, Wed)
Car: 14.5 miles
Bike: 5.5 miles
Ped: 0
Bus: 0

Days 258-259: MLwC and Roads, Revisited, Rejected, Reviled

Thanks to Carless in Seattle for surfacing the above vid, a commercial which actually made the hair on my neck tingle with anxiety.

I’ve posted a couple of times about Prop 1/RTID referendum here in Washington; of course we had the election yesterday and it looks like the proposal is going down in defeat, if not flames.

I’ve been watching the comments on the news articles in the local papers and thought several of them were worthy of repeating here, as I think sometimes we underestimate our citizenry and they’re ability to rationally think through an issue. Of course there are lots of posts that do not represent the most rational approach, but hey. You can’t please everyone.

Posted by lowerwallfrd at 11/7/07 12:28 a.m.

I really wanted to vote for Prop 1, it just did too little for too much money, I had to vote no. I hope we have a similar and better planned bill next year. Light rail to Tacoma is stupid. I think Sound Transit is a nightmare waiting to happen. There are no additional funds that should be given to those pretenders.

Posted by cj in seattle at 11/7/07 3:53 a.m.

Perhaps it would help if we had smaller $$ for more specific spending goals. I think the size of this and the fact that it was a multiple project package scared people off.

Both my self and my husband ended up voting for it even though it size of it made me think on it a while. I recognize the importance of the responsibility of one generation to those who come after.

I think though that if we could get a package for just mass transit that it would take off nicely with voter support. There has been so much corruption in government that the public has become jaded by it. They don’t trust it anymore. Its important to public servants to recognize this.

Posted by jungleal at 11/7/07 5:51 a.m.

Prop 1’s flame out is worth getting up out of bed early to celebrate. Let’s have the media bring to light every penny of gas tax hike spending. Bring back those “Your Nickel at Work” project signs, and how about some “Your Another 9.5 Cents at Work” signs and some “Your Original 23 Cents at Work” signs and a breakdown of where the 18.4 cents per gallon of federal gas tax is going. If the Alaskan Way Viaduct and 520 bridge are so fragile and dangerous, why are they not receiving more immediate gas tax money??

Posted by rwb77 at 11/7/07 6:33 a.m.

For affordable light rail: build it like many other cities are at much less cost, at-grade, not elevated or tunneled. Build it on existing rights of way, like highways and abandoned railroads. The gold-plated Sound Transit version is great for contractors but bad for taxpayers. And for a route, how about a simple loop around the lake? Start at Southcenter, branching off from the current elevated line, go to Renton, follow the old railroad right of way north to Bothell, around the upper end of the lake to Northgate, then past Husky Stadium into downtown. Don’t try a potential engineering nightmare with tracks across the lake; dedicate both floating bridges to Bus Rapid Transit; those are the two corridors where it would probably be most feasible.

For highways, spend dollars first on safety and maintenance (remember a certain bridge in Minneapolis this past summer …..). It is not WSDOT’s responsiblity to enable people to commute 40 miles one way at 60 mph on the same road at the same time as 100,000 other people. That’s what happens whenever new lanes are approved: developers come in with new housing and new strip malls and by the time the lane opens, it’s as gridlocked as the older lanes.

Posted by SleeplessInSeattle at 11/7/07 7:31 a.m.

Proposition 1 is NOT a comprehensive package. It is mainly an Eastside improvement project, with a small fragment thrown in for the rest of the area in an effort to gloss over what it really is. Is there anyone out there who is really dense enough to believe that light rail to Mercer Island and Bellevue addresses this area’s major transportation problems and environmental concerns, much less does anything to repair the roads and bridges in most need of improvement?!

We already voted in and pay an exhorbitant gas tax in this state for what was supposed to fund road/brige repair and improvement projects. At the time, 520 and the Alaskan Way Viaduct were specifically mentioned as projects that would be completed with that gas tax money. Senators Murray and Cantwell also got federal disaster money to help repair 520 and the Viaduct. Almost immediately after those two money sources came into fruition, our new governor began looking for ways to legally divert the Viaduct portion of those funds to 520. So, mark my words, 520 will be rebuilt whether Proposition 1 passes or not. Proposition 1 was just the boondoggle they were looking for to build the new 520. Now they’ll just have to use the money that was already budgeted for it, plus impose tolls. Gee, what a concept. And, yes, I certainly was thinking of my children, and their children. . .when I voted no. They would be the next generation paying for this mess, and they too would have no money left to devote to projects which would actually improve the quality of life in this area.

It’s interesting that when push comes to shove, the vote was anger directed at the government, and bewilderment over taxes already set aside for projects that are not being done. Very few of the comments really take on the larger issue of Transportation Alternatives or the issue of global climate change. Those issues are likely too big for most people to actually apply to a vote on roads. Nevertheless, and for whatever combination of reasons, we have wisely elected to not get sidetracked building roads to Redmond as a weird panacea for the rest or our many, many transportation problems.

Daily Stats: (Tue, Wed)
Car: 0
Bike: 0
Ped: 3.5
Bus: 0
Many remote conferences, email, vid conferences and other alternative connectivity.

Days 244-245: MYLwC, Support your Local Ruminant and Blog Action Ruminations

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Meet one of the goats that is busily clearing out some ivy-infested soon-to-be gardens for kids at our nearby Gatewood Elementary. Well, actually, he’s not busy. He’s taking a break. This one is much more indicative of the ruminant activity taking place:

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As one of the ecstatic kids running around the ivy-removal site told me, “There are 60 of them! 60!” And they’re taking that ivy out like nobody’s business. Rent-a-Reminant (site under construction) is the business that is taking ivy infested hillsides throughout Seattle by storm. And boy, are those goats well-fed. They look almost uncomfortably beefy, and if you ever wondered if the rumor that goats will eat anything is true, it is. Branches, blackberry thickets, small trees, and yes, ivy, right down to its roots.

The secondary gain here is what the presence of goats on the hillsides has done for the neighborhood. I met new peoplethis morning, and ran into other friends who were out just enjoying watching the goats. It’s great to see farm animals in the middle of the city! Keep in mind that these creatures are helping to rid us of a very aggressive and invasive non-native species with lots of downsides, add to that the social benefit and the enjoyment the whole neighborhood is getting from the project, and the idea of ivy eating goats in the city is a no-brainer.

 

On to ruminations about Blog Action. La Marguerite is dedicating certain posts on her blog to bloggers who are doing something to become more in tune with an environmentally compromised planet (one gets so tired of “global warming,” “global climate change,” and all the rest–I’m liking environmentally compromised planet right now). I think her idea of calling out Blog Actions is really cool and would recommend taking a moment to go over and check it out.

It also got me to thinking about my own year long action and action itself. Action seems like such a…well, active thing. And I don’t quite think of my year long project as an “action.” Maybe at first I did, but I don’t now. Now it’s just part of my life, and that’s good. But I got to thinking about my project and realized, you know when you commit to change something in your life–something fundamental or maybe even not so fundamental–many other aspects of you life change as well, not to mention your consciousness about all kinds of things.

For example, you can’t start taking the bus or riding your bike for most errands or meetings downtown and not have that impact your thinking about lots of things. It’s also not possible–at least I don’t think it is–to become conscious about one part of your life without other things popping up for attention. Let me diagram this in my own case, my year long project to change my transportation habits and perhaps even ditch my car:

 

Blog Action

 

So again, I’ve discovered and re-discovered this all along the way: it’s the small steps that count. The single Blog Action I took on was to chronicle a year of learning about my transportation habits. The hundreds of offshoots from that one commitment–now that’s action.

 

Daily Stats: Mon, Tue

Car: 0
Bike: 4.5
Ped: 4
Bus: 14

days 238-240: MLwC and Deborah Kerr (pronounced Car)

Today, this site is My Life with Kerr (prounounced Car)

Here to Eternity

Deborah Kerr passed away this week at 86. There are a lot of adoring fans in mourning, and while I’m not an adoring fan, just an admirer (I really liked her acting a lot–An Affair to Remember just rips me up every time), I did stop and think enough about her passing today to research something I’d been told since I was a kid.

Deborah Kerr was the Torch Lady on the Columbia Pictures Logo. You know the one:

Columbia Pictures logo Deborah Kerr?

That’s what I’d been told a long time ago, and have repeated as one does with oral history, to those I have felt needed to pass this information on to future generations. Well, guess what? Even though she really does look just like Deborah Kerr, she’s not. According to a note in Wikipedia, the Torch Lady is none other than lovely-but-unknown homemaker Jenny Joseph. I’m sort of crushed. I really liked the idea of this tea-sipping, beach-Burt-kissing, King-and-I-dancing English lady being the Torch Bearer for Columbia pictures, if not the entire United States. But Jenny Joseph it is.  Another myth bites the dust.

A big wind storm blew up here in the Seattle area today, the first “biggie” of the season. I rode my trusty bike home from lunch at the Royal India in the Admiral District and whoa, that was interesting. It’s mostly down slope from the Admiral District but riding against the wind, I rarely topped 6.5 mph. It was sort of cool, but sort of disconcerting because a big gust would just hit me now and then, like a wall, making navigation a little bit more engaging than usual. Anyway, so far no trees down, but a couple of telephone poles nearby. All’s good for now.

Daily Stats: (Tue, Wed, Thu)

 

Car: 37 miles (eastside)
Bike: 12 miles
Ped: 0
Bus: 0

Day 217: MLwC and the Very Important Bike Conversation

Bikes in traffic

B2 sent a great comment to my previous post about Bike Conduct. Since Brian commutes all over the area, I take his thoughts and opinions to heart.  As he notes, it sounds like the rider in the previous post was indeed obnoxious but that, “your friend, through no fault of her own, became the focal point of an ‘I’m-fed-up-and-I’m-not-going-to-take-it-anymore” moment.’  Maybe so, and lord knows, we’ve all had a few of those now and again.

Brian goes on to list in his Howl skree a litany of car-related insults and near-misses that I, and I’m sure every bike rider out there, can identify with:

Personally, I’ve been cut off by turning vehicles, cut in front of by cars, passed on narrow streets with inches to spare by cars that couldn’t slow down and wait an extra 10 seconds to pass a bit more widely, nearly hit by clueless u-turning taxis, nearly doored by clueless drivers opening their door wide open into traffic without looking behind them first, screamed at to get the hell out of the way, and had shit thrown at me, among other things. So I can definitely see where a cyclist could get pushed to the breaking point by someone she perceives to be an impatient driver who can’t seem to wait an extra minute or two on his way to do what must be Very Important Things indeed.

Yes, indeed.  A while back in this year long project I began to notice and commented on at many points how driving made me feel in much more of a hurry than I actually needed to be.  Just getting behind a wheel made me feel…well, aggressively interested in getting wherever I was going as soon as I could, viewing, as B notes, everything in my path as an obstacle to get past.  It’s true.  I’ve broken the habit of driving everywhere, I live on both sides now and I know: driving makes you obsess on one thing–getting past the thing in front of you.  As Bri describes it:

One of the issues with car and truck drivers is that the mentality of many drivers behind the wheel is that “everything on the road is an obstacle that is in the way of me getting to my desitination as fast as possible, so everyone and everything just get out of my fucking way now.” The physical structure of the car (which cuts you off from your environment) feeds into this mentality.)

In the case of my friend Susan’s close encounter with Bike Rage, however, the cyclist was expecting the driver to go uphill at what was likely 3-4 miles per hour.  That’s not easy to do in a car, not at all.  So in that case, I think the cyclist was asking too much.  Just my opinion, and had it been me, I would have hopped over to the sidewalk.  There’s a very steep hill in my hood, on the north side of Lincoln Park–long, winding, narrow lanes and steep.  To me it just screams “accident waiting to happen,” so I avoid it at all costs.  Fortunately for me, the alternate path takes me along the waterfront of the park and for the life of me, I can’t imagine why anyone would take the long and winding road, but hey.

Thanks for the comment, B2!

Daily Stats (Wed)
Car: 6.5 miles (will this office project never end? 4 tasks)
Bike: 0
Ped: 1

Bus: 0

Day 205 thru 207: MLwC and Bus Ridin Chick

Pal Jodene showed up in West Seattle today after traveling to Bellevue from her home in North Seattle. I don’t know how many miles that is but it’s a lot, so she is my hero today. She noted that it’s funny how going from her home in North Seattle, all the way around the north end of Lake Washington into Bellevue was a measly buck twenty-five, while traveling from Bellevue to Seattle was a whopping 2.50–a two zone ticket. She wondered why, I suggested because two major shopping areas equals two different zones.

Tomorrow I’m heading to the Fremont district, north of downtown. I’ve toyed with the idea of bussing it but am a little intimidated by the idea. Jodene has thrown the gauntlet down and I’m feeling I must answer the call. I wonder how many zones that is, from West Seattle to Fremont, home of the Lenin Statue and all that is truly funky in Seattle.

Lenin in Fremont

The end of summer is at hand around here, the rains have started and the temperature is chillin’. It’s a funny mixture of relief that things might quiet down a little, and sadness that the beautiful long summer days are behind us. For MLwC, I’m entering a new season and will see how this impacts my alternate transportation plans. Riding a bike in the rain isn’t all that bad, but not all that fun either. But, who knows? Most everything I used to think about transportation has changed in the course of this project, so we’ll see.

Speaking of driving. I was transfixed the other day, checking out the size of the gas cap on a Hummer. Seen one lately? I know, I know–Hummer’s are so overwhelming in general, but check it out next time you’re next to one of those monsters, waiting for the light to change. The gas cap itself speaks volumes (it’s Huge).

Hummer gas cap

Daily Stats: (Sat, Sun, Mon)
Car: 7 miles
Bike: 5 miles
Ped: approx 2 miles
Bus: 0

Day 200 – 202: MLwC and the New Continent of Synthetics

 

Over at Strange Maps, there’s a new map for the Continent of Synthetics. It’s quite intriguing, a geography of artificially created materials with poetic, if not sort of nightmarish descriptions:

• “Petrolia is the land of the new synthetic rubbers.”
• “Cellulose is a great state, something like Texas, with many counties, all of which grew out of old Nitrocellulose (Celluloid).”
• “Rayon is a plastic island off the Cellulose coast, with a glittering night life.”
• “Vinyl-land, a fast-growing new country of safety-glass (…) and rubbery plastics, will probably subdivide soon.”

All of which makes me think of farm fresh food. As our local Tomato Wars continue (turns out Neighbor Susan isn’t all that much ahead of our harvest of tomatoes), we find ourselves swamped with a vertible cornucopia of fresh tomatoes which we are busy turning into fresh sauce for this winter. We lightly bake them with fresh basil and oregano and then freeze the resulting gumbo in dinner size plastic bags for a deep January taste bud extravaganza reminding us that spring and summer are around the corner. You don’t find tomatoes like this in Petrolia!

But how I got on this topic…I read an article in The Grist about local vs. long distance food resources. This article was based on an article in the NY Times by James McWilliams debunking the idea that local food is better for all concerned and easier on the environment in general. He slices and dices the data and presents some interesting ways of looking at the issue…but I come down squarely on the side of The Grist:

Purchasing locally grown food, as Maiser observes, “is fodder for a wonderful story. Whether it’s the farmer who brings local apples to market or the baker who makes local bread, knowing part of the story about your food is such a powerful part of enjoying a meal.” Buying local builds relationships, almost organically forcing the consumer to become aware of the plight of the producer and the producer to become familiar with the needs of the consumer.

Author David Morris then explores issues of equity to small farmers who depend on foreign buyers of their goods, etc. All good points. There’s undoubtedly a middle ground here where local is the best path for many reasons including community, relationships, importance of story and connectedness–those might seem like “soft” arguments but they’re important to me. And then there are other markets globally that depend on foreign participation to stay afloat. What I’m not thrilled about participating in is the global agri-business that puts local-everything out of business and has little to no accountability, not to mention “story” or community.

Cherry tree

That said, neighbor Susan and I had a discussion the other day about buying local and here’s the rub: I’m such a fruit freak. I mean, if there were such a thing as a fruit gourmet, I might qualify. AND I live in Seattle, Washington. I mean, in the winter, there’s not a lot of fruit. Apples, apples, apples. And then Apples. Come Spring and Summer, things open up a bit, but I would do back-flips to get some of the fruit I grew up with in Southern California, and baby, that stuff ain’t local. So, if push came to shove, I guess I’d move. I’d move to a place that grows good (I mean Good) watermelons, for example, and Santa Rosa plums.

So, anyway. It’s the harvest time of the year. I hope you’re enjoying the fruits of the season!

Daily Stats: (Monday, Tues, Wed)
Car: 0
Bike: 8
Ped: 4 or 5 miles
Bus: 0