Close up of Davey on Shi Shi during our ninth anniversary backpacking trip. We’ve only missed one year of this family tradition and were impressed by how quickly the kids made it down to the shore after parking the car at Tilly’s on the Makah Indian Reservation. There’s a brief trail originating from the Makah Indian reservation a few miles long that winds down to the beach and onto the shores of the national park.

In the bottom photo, taken during our first visit to Shi Shi, Davey investigates an intricate plumbing system constructed from bullwhips, a hollow sea kelp that washes up onto the shore after high tides. You can take a series of these long tubes and connect them to each other to transport water from a higher elevation, such as a stream or waterfall. It’s a very Swiss Family Robinson way to irrigate an outdoor kitchen.

Guess what time it is

It’s 6:15 a.m. Friday morning and I haven’t had coffee yet. And I won’t. Also, it’s raining.

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This is the first day of the RSVP (Ride from Seattle to Vancouver and Party). We will ride our bicycles over 104 miles the first day. All the way to Bellingham, Washington where we will take showers at a friend’s house, stay up too late and then collapse on the floor.

The next day, we’ll get up and ride to the border of Canada and the US. This will be in the rain, again. We’ll get lost for a little bit, find our way and meander through farmland. We’ll eventually see Vancouver, BC in the distance. It will seem like a mirage but eventually we’ll arrive at the hotel (after spending a brief time looking for Leslie). There we will get a little medallion that says we’re insane.

And then we’ll party.

Asked my son if he liked this pizza. He was all, “Heh, heh, heh…” #bodacious

They make truly fantastic dogs at Weiner World. #dachshund #hotdogs

The Ice Cream Man Doesn’t Cometh Anymore

Ask any kid what the best sound of summer is and they’ll likely say, “The ice cream truck.” I still get excited whenever I hear the warped calliope of the ice-cream truck song one block away. A neighbor said it best: “It’s one of the few Norman Rockwell experiences we share with our kids.”image

As sweet as that sounds, this story continues with little good humor.

Not long ago, the temperatures in Seattle hit 80 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s sweltering for our town. The neighborhood kids had ice cream on their minds. So when the truck finally appeared, the kids were waiting, sweating and salivating. The ice cream truck always stops mid-block in front of the same group of homes where the greatest concentration of young kids live. But as he rolled to a stop, all hell broke loose in front of one of those homes.

I’ve compiled three variations of what happened and how it went down. There are two here (third is coming after I talk to one more party). You can decide what to believe.

Story 1, as told by a concerned parent:

As the ice cream truck rolled up and the kids surrounded it, the home owners gardening nearest to the truck asked the driver to park “legally” instead of in the middle of the street near their strip. The driver replied this was the safest place for the truck. He was blocking traffic, ensuring the safety of kids who approached his truck to get ice cream.

That wasn’t good enough for the home owners, who, apparently, then addressed the inferiority of the ice cream he was peddling.

Why couldn’t he sell better ice cream? The ice cream he had was crap. Wasn’t he ripping off the kids by jacking up prices on an inferior product? If he sold better ice cream (several brands were discussed along with their merits), and parked legally, things would be better.

The disagreement escalated as the home owners and driver started pointing fingers at each other, raising their voices in anger. This is when the parents of the various children ran over, grabbed their shocked kids and hustled them back to their homes. The last thing these kids heard was that the ice cream man was NEVER COMING BACK TO THEIR STREET. They started crying. Soon anarchy ruled the streets.

As if this wasn’t enough, a dog who’d previously killed a neighbor’s chicken escaped through an open door and chased Mr. Tux (a cat) under another house. They fought. Like cats and dogs are wont to do. The next day, Mr. Tux was seen walking up the street with a shaved patch on his forehead. But the ice cream man did not cometh.

Story 2, as told by neighbors who talked to the homeowners:

The neighbors said the homeowners never much liked the ice cream truck because the song always repeated. Loud and incessantly. When the ice cream truck stopped at their house that day, they politely asked him to park somewhere else. The driver said “No” he wouldn’t, so they asked him to at least turn off the music. Again, the driver said “No” because the entire ice cream truck system would turn off including the refrigeration which, of course, was keeping the ice cream frozen.

The subject of the inferior ice cream was brought up, and the driver became belligerent, pointing his finger in their faces. The driver announced he’d never come back to this neighborhood again. At this time, the husband said he made sure there were no children around as he threatened to report the ice cream driver to the city.

But there were children around, and they were crying.

Next up:

Story 3, as told by the homeowners. STAY TUNED!

So that’s where the roll of goat cheese’s been all this time. #KitchenDrawer #cheese. One reason the kitchen has smelled like a fart for days. #JunkDrawerSurprise

Tulip trees of Bryant

A dozen examples of the world’s tallest deciduous trees line the block around Bryant Elementary School in Seattle. These are tulip trees, Liriodendron, gorgeous tall grey monsters.

Liriodendron

Every year we discuss the possibility of having the tulip tree roots shaved and then the streets repaved above their substantial root structures, which serve as the perfect speed bumps in the form of buckled pavement — hills, really — around the school. And, every year, someone reminds us that we don’t want to change anything about these sentinels and their roots. It’s sort of gratifying hearing a speeding car bottom out in a street where hundreds of children congregate each school day. “Oops” we’ll say, with a sly smile. “They won’t go THAT fast again.” Taxes were never used to maintain these speed bumps, just the passage of time and patient parents and neighbors who have learned to use the alleys to access their homes.

Today I walked by the northwest corner of Bryant’s block and noticed the DOT had unearthed one of the giant tree’s root structures and made a mess of it. Grinding the pulp into sawdust and wood chips. Why? To install handicap access sidewalks to each corner sidewalk. We’ve lost a speed bump. We might lose a tree. I’m feeling all tree amnesty right now, but it does give you pause to note the irony of this action. For years we protected these giant protectors of our kids.

My friend Kristen feels she had a phenomenally bad game of golf yesterday. With the exception of this shot, which ended with a heavenly glow of sunshine. Catholics always seem to get those “signs from heaven” even when they lose a pack of new golf balls on the course. (You didn’t hear that from me.)

No river tubing allowed here, thanks to otter attacks! #NIMBYotter #MrOtterIsPOd

Got the new range, and it was not free. #NewStove