My new Mitsubishi i-Car is so cute! It handles beautifully and has lots of pep, even on the freeway! It’s all-electric. No gas, no pollution. It won’t go very far (about 60 mile range), so I’m keeping my faithful Subaru wagon. Within a couple of weeks, it will sport this graphic to advertise the cottage. More photos soon! I can’t wait. (there’s no orange stripe between the doors – that was just to see where the break would come in the design process.) My old friend Lari Power did the beautiful graphic.
Last October, when Occupy Seattle was only an encampment in Westlake Park, I ventured downtown with a friend to see what it was all about. We were impressed with the variety and sincerity of the protesters, and their messages resonated for me: we are the 99%, the rich are getting too rich on the backs of the poor, restore American values and the middle class, bring back democracy.
I began participating in meetings, especially the working group called Get Money out of Politics (“GMOP”). I joined nationwide conference calls for the national working group focusing on this same issue. These people are inspiring. All ages, all backgrounds and income/educational levels – bright, creative, cooperative – motivated by what I call our national values of freedom, compassion and fairness.
Here’s a photo from a recent GMOP meeting – they’re held at our beautiful Washington Convention Center in downtown Seattle.
Some people may think Occupy Wherever has packed up their tents and gone home, bowing to police or winter or just petering out. They will see. The “occupation” of so many public places has served its purpose: to get our attention. And now the movement begins.
January 20 and 21 will mark the 2nd anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that narrowly (5-4) gave corporations the same “free speech” rights as real people, allowing them to donate unlimited money to political campaigns, anonymously. Just wait for next summer. Big Money will drown TV programming with short, shallow ads which will buy the results of many races.
In Seattle on those dates, a coalition of many groups including Occupy Seattle, Move to Amend, and WA Public Campaigns, is currently planning a march, a couple of rallies, some brilliant street theater, concerts, and other events to promote the need to amend the Constitution to clarify that only people are entitled to free speech. Similar events will happen that weekend across the country.
A Constitutional amendment is the only way to overturn a Supreme Court decision. Many city councils across the U.S. have recently passed a resolution, which is then passed on to the voters, advocating such an amendment. So far, the cities include Los Angeles, New York City, Boulder, Missoula, and Duluth. Voters agree, by around 75%. We are working on Seattle and King County to get with it!
I know some of you disagree with my liberal views and activism. That’s fine, this is a democracy. But I can’t be honest with myself and hide my political views. It’s time to take a stand. This is our moment to start cleaning up our government and restoring our democracy. The Occupy movement is providing the energy and visibility to make it happen. Count me in!
I had wanted to backpack in the Goat Rocks Wilderness for years. The Pacific Crest Trail (“PCT”) runs through it – and this is one of the highest stretches. In fact, this year (2011) summer came so late that when we went in August, there were still snow fields to cross and a cornice to scale! The incredible wildflowers were peaking, and streams, lakes, and waterfalls were full. Mosquitos were having a field day, and the sun was really strong – that’s why I’m wearing the Lawrence of Arabia headgear.
That is water, not wine, in the bota bag. (just a funny-shaped canteen)
Goat Rocks (so named because it’s home to herds of mountain goats) lies between Mt Adams to the south and Mt Rainier to the north, about a 4-hour drive from the cottage. We were a group of 5, and we went in on Friday and came out on Monday. I celebrated my birthday there! Noplace else I’d rather be than sitting around a campfire with friends on a clear, starry night up in the high country.
Whistler Mountain is only a few hours away from Soundview, across the border into British Columbia. But I had never been there, winter or summer. It’s a spectacular resort – refurbished and enlarged for the recent winter Olympics, with beautiful shops and common areas, respectful of the fantastic landscape.
The natural obelisk you see on the horizon is Black Tusk – the ubiquitous landmark of Garibaldi Provincial Park. Blessed with two peaks, lakes, forests, meadows, and waterfalls, the area is a mecca for mountain lovers like me. In the summertime, there are free outdoor concerts in the village almost every evening. We totally enjoyed Jason Mraz – just him – acoustic and personal – with one other musician, a fabulous guitarist. What luck!
To get oriented, we took a chairlift up Blackcomb Mountain, then boarded the Peak-to-Peak Gondola which sweeps across a deep abyss to Whistler Mountain, and then walked down (you could have ridden down instead). Normally in the summer there are many trails open at the top for hiking, but this year summer came late, and even in August snowfields blocked most of the higher paths.
So we hiked to Lake Cheakamus (lower elevation) and drove to a couple of spectacular waterfalls. Our weather was splendid, and we had a great time.
Saturday I hiked to Emmons Glacier, the largest glacier in the continental US. It’s on the east side of Mt Rainier and very easy to get to. It’s about a 2-hour drive from the cottage to the Sunrise entrance of Mt Rainier National Park. Then you drive to the White River Campground, park your car, and start walking UP.
But the trail is easy, punctuated by delicate waterfalls, and before long you are straddling the ridge of the glacier’s lateral moraine.
Emmons Moraine trail is the most bang for the buck I’ve experienced around these parts! (the most spectacular mountain wilderness scenery, for the least amount of effort to get there.)
A new blog-post on a hospitality trade website talks about why more vacationers are choosing to stay at a B&B, as opposed to a hotel. According to this article, people enjoy the unique, personal nature of B&Bs. And Soundview is unique among B&Bs.
The cottage is a separate guesthouse, totally private. Guests have complete freedom to do whatever they want, whenever they want, and that includes breakfasts. I don’t cook. I do provide almost all the breakfast foods you can think of, but you choose and you cook, not me. I think I would burn out very quickly if I had to get up and make an elaborate breakfast every morning.
This may put off some potential guests who enjoy a lavish breakfast served to several guests at once in a central dining room. But my guests enjoy this self-catered idea. In the complete, new kitchen in the cottage, they can also prepare other meals and save money and control what they eat. More and more people these days have special dietary needs, such as avoiding wheat, sugar, or lactose…and managing your own diet in your own kitchen gives you total control, just like at home.
It works for me!
Last week I took a spectacular hike up a series of waterfalls on the way to Stevens Pass, Highway 2. It’s a state park called Wallace Falls. The hike is pretty easy – 5 or so miles up to a picnic point, then turn around and come back. On this brilliant spring day, the trail was crowded with exuberant hikers of all ages and abilities, thrilling to the rushing water, suddenly blue sky, and the impudent, luscious green. The trail is out of the hamlet called GoldBar, on the way up to Stevens Pass, and it’s less than a 2-hour drive from the cottage.
My yoga teacher, Janet Crawley, is offering Soundview Cottage guests a free introductory class. It’s only 5 minutes away, in a pleasant classroom, and Janet is a caring, careful leader. The one hour+ sessions help me keep my flexibility, balance, and strength. They’re very relaxing, too, and we girls usually enjoy a latte and chat at Starbuck’s afterwards.
Janet always has extra yoga mats. That’s me on the purple mat.
The classes are at 8:30 Monday and Wednesday mornings, in Normandy Park, just down the hill. Janet’s own websites: for yoga go to www.JanetCrawley.com and for her ceramic art go to www.ClayQueen.com.
People come here from miles around Puget Sound to throw pots, glaze and fire them. The facility and the artists at Moshier are the best – and it’s only 5 minutes from Burien, where I live and where Soundview cottage is!
I’ve taken classes for years here, made dozens of bowls and mugs, gotten dirty, laughed and sighed and groaned at the clay, and marveled at the way the glazes come out of the kiln.
Here are some photos of the teachers (who are also friends) with their work at a recent show/sale, and of me at the wheel.
The full moon woke me up Thursday night, shining on the Sound through the wispiest little clouds. I love winter here. Sometimes it snows, but usually the snow melts pretty quickly. The views are even more amazing in the winter, because some of the trees are bare now and you can see more of the water.
(this photo is from a few years ago – this much snow is really unusual!)
But a couple of weeks ago, when I was supposed to lead a group of middle shool girls on a snowshoe trip, the weather turned warm and rainy and we had to suddenly switch to Northwest Trek instead of going up to Snoqualmie Pass.
NW Trek was a lot of fun and a perfect Plan B. We were able to stay out of the drizzle most of the time, riding the heated trams that carry you through the wildlife habitat in the foothills of Mt Rainier, to observe deer, bison, moose, elk, swans, geese – totally oblivious to the human visitors. In other places in the park, separated from the grazers, are predators like wolves and bears. My favorite are the beavers, which you get to observe swimming underwater through a glass wall.
The girls were adorable – they loved taking photos of each other, and kept pulling me into the picture! This day was an activity of the Sierra Club Inner City Outings program, where I’m a volunteer leader for two Tukwila schools. Tukwila is just on the other side of the airport, and it’s said to be the most diverse school district in the nation. I believe it!