Thursday, January 23, 2014

Just in time for a levy: annoyance.

I love the new Vashon High School. I voted for the bond that made it possible. But as a mom of two students at the school, why, oh why, can the school not spring for printing out students' semester schedules?
This was the email sent to parents, in the name of GREEN "practiaces" (SIC):
I understand the notion of tree-killing when stacks of paper are squandered on, say, full page/full color slick brochures showcasing the new school - or recieving "do-over" postcards that go out to every known island address, correcting the tax calculation error on the proposed M&O levy info that SHOULD'VE BEEN RIGHT ON THE FIRST MAILING...but then to scrimp on our own kids by not giving them a simple printout of their second semester schedules in the name of GREEN makes me turn a little RED. 

I will, of course, use the stupid, not-at-all intuitive (and unchangeable) issued password for Family Access to pull this schedule information so that my kids can have the privilege of knowing where the hell their classes are the first few days of class, but I'm calling bullshit on this measure as green. This is just another cutback.

Oh, and that levy vote? Gosh....with all these green measures, surely we're not going to need to eke out more money from Islanders, right? Because we're savvy, we're green. Sorry, I'm just annoyed.

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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Of Winter and Workouts

Sometimes it's really tough to be my optimistic self when the GRAY just hangs overhead during our limited daylight hours. I am trying. Leaving the office I was thrilled to see there was still a wink of daylight on the trek back to the ferry dock downtown.

This week I finally got to talk to "Running Man" on the water taxi home. Dan, his name was. I'm 99% sure it's Dan. For the past several months, I've noticed this perpetually-in-motion fellow starting his jog to the boat from my North End neighborhood, and then again while I'm driving our KC Vanshare through points downtown to SLU. I just resorted to calling him Running Man. I told him that he'd become the stuff of commuting entertainment for my van crew. I'd say, noting his pace near Amazon or  Belltown, "look out the window, see that guy running? - just wait, he'll beat us down to the ferry area." Sure enough, 90% of the time, he does! He was amused to hear this story and told me how quickly he gets to work on foot (keeping a wardrobe downtown). Wally Wood, who sat with us, chimed in. They compared notes on favorite running routes on the island and in Seattle. Dan runs marathons and defies his age - it's the stuff of longevity and discipline.

Hats off to Dan, aka Running Man. If it wasn't for exercise in winter, I'd be two sizes bigger and the biggest mope EVER. And I have been. Won't make that mistake again.

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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Cheers to Seattle Distilling Co.

It's not easy to run a business on Vashon Island. I have nothing but respect for those who pull it off, succeed and persevere. That's why I was somewhat baffled when the Nirvana owners pulled up anchor and with very last-minute notice, closed shop. It's not like tumbleweeds were blowing through the joint. Of late it'd become quite the scene! Why do I feel let down that they threw in the towel? I think it's because they'd become a success story after the reincarnation (pardon the pun) of its failed predecessors. They did it against many odds. Good for them, but now, goodbye.

Meanwhile the party's just beginning for Seattle Distilling. I give it to Tami Brockway Joyce, who works her ass off marketing. I live it, too. I lurk online for my employer and often cross cyberspace with Seattle Distilling - they're tumbling, facebooking, tweeting - she is everywhere for them and I'm paying attention and giving props where due.

The work reaps rewards. Last night was the Luana Beach coffee liqueur launch party at the set-back distillery, and it was a complete success in its attendance. I hope that the Island residents also opened their wallets, not just showed up for the party because the end goal, of course, is to sell some booze. There is something very cozy and welcoming about the space, its little foyer tasting room with the rough hewn counter, and the dramatic copper stills towering in the next room. The vibe is good, completely unpretentious, and decidedly young. Lots of toddlers on parents' hips kind of young.

Here's to those that make their businesses work, and keep on trucking.

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Friday, January 03, 2014

It's 2014. Let's catch up.

Happy New Year! We made it to 2014, my eighth year of this blog.

It's been a gunky winter, as in, a phlegm-filled holiday season. First, a lovely flu carried back on my travels from San Diego hit just in time for my dad to arrive for Thanksgiving. It would be three weeks before the residual sinus infection, coughing and snot bombs subsided. A few days of clear breathing gave me the confidence to splash down in Puget Sound with my mermaids on Christmas Eve (that was some c-c-c-cold water in the mid 40s, even in a wet suit; respect to those who swim in skins but don't assume just anyone can swim in cold conditions. After 90 minutes, even my wetsuit wasn't enough layering for me! .) That was a great gift, time spent swimming with friends. Then Christmas came and with it, the sniffles...then it on the mend. First world problems, really! But usually not MY problem. The viruses were not making many exceptions for anyone this year, it seems!

After three attempts to set a date for Seabrook, we made it happen pretty late in the game--just last weekend --with the boys our dear friends Jim and Sue. If you live anywhere in WA or OR and are looking for a coastal adventure requiring overnights, for the love of all that is holy, BOOK AT SEABROOK. YOu can go in with another family and lodge in comfort and style for less than two hotel rooms, all said. The houses are fully furnished in new-but-cute-Americana style and construction, it's a quick jaunt to the beach, there's a pool with lap swim hours, a restaurant, a market and it has the BEST RAZOR CLAMMING BEACH along the coast (I did not get paid to write any of that!). We ended up cooking amazing food, foraged in the backwoods and found a pint's worth of funnel chanterelles and hedgehogs, did a nice long beachwalk and to our amazement it was sunny on the coast! We are grateful for these opportunities.

How do we do this blog catch-up thing? Bear with me. Subsequent entries will be short and sweet.

As the new year kicks off we've put out seed trays in the greenhouse and planted them with seeds for hardy greens, and a few flower varieties for future honeybee forage. We are using heated seed mats and it's funny to see what happens in the warm v cold patches. So far, so good overall! The hoophouse adjacent to it got blown out after one too many windstorms (the plastic - not the frame), so we have other plans for it in the yard. We yearn to get through the gray and back to sunny days. Being a Cali native, this is the hardest part of living in the Northwest. I find that just going outside does help remedy that, though. David is outside constantly. He amazes me everyday.

The boys flipped the TALL switch this year. Alex is easily 6'1" and Zach is closing in on 6' now. Both have evolved into pretty snazzy kids with penchants for argyle sweaters and oxford shirts. Why not?! Zach has fallen in love with debate - channeling his political interests into discourse that reaches a velocity that is nearly indecipherable. If his grades improve, debate camp in summer at Gonzaga is on the table. Alex meanwhile is cruising through his senior year and self-studying Latin with a tutor. He did well on his first SAT subject test in history. Next comes the big, basic SAT. His sights are set on Evergreen State College. We'll check that opinion after its open house! Applications are in at a few NW schools. I'm a proud mom to see the progress of these polite, articulate, informed and gosh darn good looking young men!

For July 2014, I've booked a swim trip with my swim friend (and all around cool lady), Anne and of all the excursions she scouted for us, the best seemed to be this groovy little "The Big Blue Swim" in Lefkada, Greece. A seven-day excursion involving a sailboat and 12 islets, we'll be swimming 5k per day on some of these outings. Like I told Anne, bring me Ouzo, Octopus...okay some Dolmades and of course the yogurt and we're living. The Wine Enthusiast Greek wine editor has already tipped me off on wines to try while I'm there. I will be hydrating first! Let the record show I put this whole trip on plastic and will be paying it down til July when it's time to fly. This will be my first trip to Europe, and there's a connecting leg and overnight in London, coming and going, so I get a bonus trip! I'll miss David and the kids while away, and I am excited to train up to this trip and expect to be pretty physically fierce by July. Bring on the swim bikinis...and sun, please dear God, the sun! If this is a bonus year at work, Costa Rica is calling our whole family back. Fingers are crossed!

Thanks to a rehab year after shoulder surgery including PT at ProFormance and an excellent personal trainer (Amber Gruger) at Seattle Athletic Club, I was back in the pool in 2013! Some really fun OW excursions with Guila Muir's "Say Yes to Life" Swims and the Seattle Meetup Swim Group rounded out my summer and made me a boatload of new friends. Deborah - my Idaho pal and I did the Long Bridge Swim in Sanpoint, Idaho, and then David joined us in San Diego for the Sharkfest Swim. Anne and I did some swim relaying during the Athleta Irongirl. Sidenote: I met Anne through the swim Meetup, which is an awesome site for taking things online to offline in short order through common interests. Let's do more in 2014! I hear there are some fun Oregon OW swims...and Lake Berryessa. Gotta do longer OW swims now. 

After much house-hunting on Vashon, several offers getting snapped up from under us, and loving where we lived more and more on the North End, we called it quits on the house hunt. A fortuitous opportunity to buy the rental from the landlord fruited, and we locked it in. We are now homeowners of the house we lived in since 2007. And hey, no moving needed! Now we just need to not hoard. There was a lot of deferred maintenance on this place, so David and I have started the sprucing. Farah and Lucas, his mom and stepdad, made the journey and stayed with us to PAINT this mother! It was lepracy house, seriously. Big chunks of faded blue paint on the house, garage and cottage. Now it's all a nice taupe with white trim, and looks swanky. THANK YOU to my fabulous in-laws.

That's quite enough. Consider yourself caught up.

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