If you still haven’t caught the Super Soft Rock Spectacular let this dance number from the show entice you:
Sept. 28, 29
October 5, 6
Performances at 8pm Friday and Saturday nights
Re-Bar is located 1114 Howell St (corner of Howell and Boren) 206-233-9873
$12 pre-sale with Brown Paper Ticket
Tickets are $14 at the door (Get 12 dollar tix by telling the bouncer: “On the Wings of Love”)
For tickets call 1-800-838-3006 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/19374
By now we have all heard about an unfortunate but hilarious acronym that has been used for a certain Seattle trolley. I work in the very neighborhood that is the topic of so much discussion. Yes, we’re suffering from loud construction, streets being closed, a pipe burst sending gallons of water down Mercer St. (and into local businesses), cyclists were hit by a dump truck, and worst of all: they took away any and all free street parking and replaced it with two hour paid parking (aaarg!). BUT, public transportation, is, well, public transportation and despite how dinky, self-righteous and Paul Allen funded it might be, we need more of it.
Right now it takes about 30 minutes to get to my job by car and less then that returning home (I use I-90 on the way in and I-5 on the way out). In 2009 when the light rail starts I have been told that it will take 24 minutes from my nearby light rail station to downtown; add the 10 minutes it will take to get to the station, and the ten minutes it will take from downtown to work on the trolley and you have a fairly nice 45 minute commute. It currently takes me an hour and fifteen minutes to get to my work in south lake union by bus. (This also doesn’t account for the years off my life; south Seattle’s buses are notorious for on-board drug use, crying schizophrenics, and crime–just ask my sister). I would take a 45 minutes public transported commute over a car ride for obvious reasons: less gas, less pollution, less ‘contributing to the problem.’ Besides, once a month there is the commute from hell where, for whatever reason, the city has imploded and it takes me an hour to get to my job–bridges are backed up, the Battery Street Tunnel is closed, multiple accidents bring the commute to a stop. These are the trips where I put my head on my steering wheel and curse Seattle for its shitty transportation system.
The other issue with the new street car is the obvious change it is lending to the neighborhood. What was once an industrial, largely untapped part of north downtown, is now being made over as a condominium dream. Everywhere you turn parking lots, old buildings, and vacant lots are being ripped up and condos are being built up in their place. There are high end apartments, retirement condo living, and even ‘family’ condos being erected left and right. Sure, this brings in more business, better parks, and new life into a once dilapidated neighborhood. However, there are certain times when old south lake union collides with new south lake union. Example: all summer long I took my 3-6 year old campers to Cascade Park up the street. Cascade Park, once a typical seedy urban park has now been transformed into a kid friendly, plastic coated play structured, grassy knoll play space for many of the nearby pre-schools to visit. It is complete with a pea patch, an open field for sports, and scary restrooms. Every week 8 or so campers would cling to the walking rings and Kevin, my co-teacher, and I would make the trek to the park. We dodged bulldozers, narrowly avoided freshly dug ditches, and shielded the kids from overwhelming construction as we made out way to the park. We wound our way through the pea patch (called the “Magic Garden”) and admired the pumpkins before heading our way out to the park’s fresh lawn. “OK, kids,” I instructed. “Everyone run out and touch those 3 trees at the edge of the park.” The kids took off scrambling toward the trees only to have me realize that there was a bum passed out underneath one of them. Kevin sprinted ahead of the kids and quickly tried to redirect them. He was too late, and many of the kids jumped over the sleeping transient to get to the tree. Another time we were playing a game I made up called “Bubble Masters” (I blow bubbles, the kids try to pop them, after 60 seconds we reconvened and the kids told me how many bubbles they had popped). At some point during the bubble popping I noticed a transient had suddenly joined in on the game. I sent Kevin out to be a ‘bum buffer’-a friendly buffer between the bum and the kids-and the game continued. This may sound overly paranoid, but try putting 8 strangers’ children into your care and take them to a city park–I’m pretty sure you’d be equally concerned about their safety. This is also precedent with some pretty rough park history: Kevin and campers have witnessed a vicious dog fight, prostitution, and a full on brawl between two bums–one of them wielding a large rock.
This all being said, I felt compelled to buy a t-shirt at the local coffee shop that has been profiled in every major newspaper across the country–from CNN to NPR (most recently on Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me as part of the quiz show). The coffee shop isn’t even a shop, but a converted open garage. Customers walk into the garage and order only to stand around in the tiny space or continue on their way. When I arrived there was quite a buzz with people lining up to order shirts, pick up ordered shirts, or buy drinks. One of the owners actually got into a debate with a public transit official who started out by saying, “Do public transit workers get a discount? And by the way, we never called the street car a ‘trolley.” This stirred up a heated debate: “Yes you did,” the t-shirt guy said, “I have multiple articles from local papers referring it to a trolley, even Greg Nickels referred to it as a trolley on the news last night.” The transit worker grumbled but put his name down for a tee.
What ends this story is a case of deep flattery on my part. To order a shirt one had to pay in advance. I promised to return with cash, “I just work up the street, I’ll come back after my shift…here let me write down the name of the business I work at.” The tee shirt guy asked me to (nod, nod, wink, wink) put my phone number down there too. I haven’t been asked for my phone number in over ten years. When I returned he was giddy to see me and after accepting my money actually walked me to my car. I told him to have a nice day and he said, “Out of curiosity, is that a wedding ring on your finger?” When I confirmed he said, “DAAAMMMIT! Well, I think you’re really cute, tell your husband he is a LUCKY, LUCKY man.” This propelled me to say something silly like, “Thanks, you made my day,” and off I went feeling massively weird, but yes, a bit flattered: the creator of the South Lake Union Trolley t-shirts thinks I’m cute!
Gina returned from Europe with a terrific case of the homemade dreadlocks. She had them going for a while and at some point during her three month tour the dreads went wild:
Don’t be fooled by the cuteness by the above picture. The dreads HAD to go and when she rolled into Seattle I made sure of it. After three hours enduring a hairdresser’s comb, scissors, and two hair washes Gina’s dreads were gone:
The past week has been devoted to getting my sister up and running in Seattle. This involves helping her get a cellphone, mapping out the bus routes, meeting up with her after work every day so we can scout out jobs, outfitting my pantry with vegan food options, and paying a large amount of money to have her homemade dreadlocks cut out of her head and turned into a cute hairstyle. I would post before and after hair pics but right now she’s working at her (hopeful) new job! Yup, within less then a week the kid got a job as a baker at a well-known vegan donut shop (don’t worry parents, she is pretty sure she’ll get sick of donuts pretty fast). I don’t know the details yet but I think this will be in addition to all the other groovy, artist-y jobs she’s applying for.
Having Gina around has been nice, if not a little stressful because I feel sooo responsible for her. We’ve been making vegan dinners every night (including a delicious crisp where the zucchini masqueraded as apples), taking long walks around the neighborhood, and debating everything from obesity in America to our childhoods. People continue to ask which one of us is older–which used to insult me when I was younger but now I take it as the deepest of flattery that I could pass for 22. The last time Gina and I lived together was 12 years ago–when I was 18 and she was 11. Now, as adults we navigate our way around our similarities and differences…she is beginning her life as a freshly graduated art student and I continue to plod through my career slightly envious of her freedom but relieved that I don’t have to flip donuts.
Last night we presented a ‘lecture series’ on an assigned topic for a show I’m working on. One of the ensemble members did an entire lecture on tomatoes. When asked why she chose this topic she claimed that she just really loves tomatoes–especially tomato sandwiches. “You know, the kind with really good bread, a ton of mayo, a really ripe tomato and some salt?” Omigod. I was suddenly transported to some far, far, time when my father handed me that exact sandwich. I became obsessed with recreating that memory and today I made a tomato sandwich for dinner. The tomato was a little mushy and the bread fell victim to the mush, but other then that it was FANTASTIC! If you love fresh tomatoes (and they’re in abundance right now at your local farmer’s market) now is the time to go and make yourself a tomato and mayo sandwich!
While mopping my front porch I listened to the loudest domestic fight I’ve ever heard. I’m assuming the couple was about a block away but the guy was screaming so loud his voice echoed and reverberated against every house in the neighborhood. The funny thing is he was yelling about how he was ‘the original gangster.’ You know how it is when you’re overhearing a fight, you kind of don’t want to listen but you do anyway because it’s sort of thrilling. Of course, everything you’re hearing is out of context. She could very well be a no good ho who cheated on him with her baby’s daddy (sorry, that’s the worst I could think up). However, it was my assumption that he was trying to prove to her that he was ‘thug’ enough by throwing in as many f-bombs as possible and hollering at the top of his lungs. No context and I even I could tell he was a loser, gangster or not. She threw him out of her house. I know this because, despite not raising her voice hardly an octave, I heard her say, “Get out of my house, this is MY house.” And so, the shouting stopped, and I’m assuming he went away…hopefully far far away.
During this whole time I was clutching a broom on my front porch, having just dusted out all of the old spider webs and nests that had taken over the roof of the porch. I only heard the tail end of the fight, and I had already formulated my 911 plan. First I would have to sneak down the path of my front lawn and try and figure out where the argument was taking place so I could describe the location to a dispatcher. This was scary since there was no way I wanted to be seen by the ‘original gangster’ and receive any of his wrath. Plus, I wasn’t sure at what point to call the cops: do you wait until you hear someone be personally threatened? Do you wait until you’re certain someone is in near danger? Do you call the moment you hear voices raised because of the possibility of violence? Do you call regardless because it is disturbing the peace? By the time I had pondered all of these questions the fight was over.
While enduring the fight I realized I was clenching my stomach; nothing ruins a holiday more then rage. Despite the angry voices, Hobbes was rolling around happily on her back during the entire altercation (she loves being outside). One of my plans involved scooping her up and running back inside the house. ‘Domestic fights happen in every neighborhood,’ I told myself. “They usually don’t last long.” Over the weekend my brother-in-law tactfully inquired about gang activity in our neighborhood. I responded that because we don’t run with those type of crowds we’re typically unaffected. Josh and I have lived in this house for a year and all in all it’s been uneventful. We parked the Suburu on the street for several days and nothing was broken or stolen. I’ve left the front door unlocked a few times and no one bothered to steal anything. Despite a few angry neighborhood outbursts no one makes waves. Sure, I’m still stared at when taking walks around the neighborhood, but I continue to say ‘hello’ to everyone I walk by. I realized after overhearing this fight (and being scared) that we really are not part of the neighborhood. We don’t ‘run with the crowd,’ hence we’re unaffected by its low-lifes, but not included in anything else…like the good things. The trade off for being left alone is not having a community to turn to in case anything really did happen to us.
Wanting to know my neighbors became important the second I became a homeowner. I want my street to be the nice, I want my neighbors to be looking out for me, I want to be respected. The other night Josh parked our Suburu in front of the house across the street to accommodate his sister’s boat. I noticed they were generating a lot of cars; probably their huge extended family was coming over for dinner again, and our car was obviously in the way. “Here, let me move my car,” I offered to a young teen emptying bags out of his backseat. “Oh,” the kid mumbled, and while I didn’t expect a conversation I would have appreciated some recognition or maybe a thank you. I moved the car and silently returned to our house, aware that a group of teenagers were staring at me out of the windows. “It’s the thought that counts,” I thought to myself. “It’s the gesture, the act of doing something neighborly that’s more important then receiving any sort of gratitude.”
So, I want to know my neighbors but it’s not like I’ve been banging on doors or starting up any block parties. When we arrived no one except the folks who sold us the place next door introduced themselves. No casseroles or welcome wagons, so we returned the favor and sat on our hands. Is it because we obviously plopped roots down in an incredibly racially divided city? Yes, definitely. I don’t want to intrude or make any waves. I just want my neighbors to know that I’m a decent person with a job and a husband and a cat I would appreciate they not run over. But this also means I won’t hesitate to call the police if I think someone is being threatened or if it’s 1am and the bass is still bumping down the street. I would do that in any neighborhood and even though we agreed we were not going to be the ‘new sheriff in town’ I still have limits.
Josh’s oldest sister brought up her magnificent boat and we took it out yesterday.
Despite a morning filled with constant vomiting from Josh’s nephew, we prevailed, and the little guy managed to recover enough to enjoy the rest of the day. I was the tour guide, having worked on a cruise boat for a summer back in ‘99. We put the boat in at the marina a half mile away from our house. We traveled from the bottom of Lake Washington, under the I-90 bridge, past Bill Gates’ house (which we oohed and aaahed over), and under the 520 bridge. Past the U of WA, into Lake Union, through the Ballard Locks and out into the ocean. We traveled behind Bainbridge Island and had dinner in Paulsbo before heading back. The entire trip took 12 hours with sunny temps until evening was upon us and we shivered under our life jackets and ate Milano cookies for warmth. Overall, it instilled an even deeper desire within Josh to get a boat. Check out boating pics on flickr.
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for September, 2007.