I just spent 6 weeks in the USA and have a lot to get off my chest. Bear with me.
I went to Detroit to visit family, who live in a suburb called Farmington Hills. I can never find my way around the Detroit suburbs when I’m driving because it all looks the same to me.
This is why I can never, ever orient myself when I go there.
One of the major activities in Detroit is eating.
Then I went back to Seattle for a fun-filled time of struggling with taxes, battling a state agency, being too cold, and eating too much great food. I was lucky enough to have the loan of a perfect apartment from some dear friends.
I took the picture below after having taken a short lonely hike around the back of the Yesler Terrace housing projects.
Here’s a shot of the projects themselves. They aren’t bad actually. This is the Laotian section and there are garden patches on the hill in back of the buildings.
Sue S. lives in a cooperative housing development.It’s a grouping of modern townhouses with common areas. The population is diverse. The day I visited, Sue and her friends were preparing a young flowering tree for a memorial service. The mother of one of the residents had died, and the coop wanted to do something special for her.
A close friend had surgery by a terrific doctor who contributes time to Mountain Rescue.
Richard P posed with an unusual mannequin in Nordstrom.
The Gorbman family seder was done with a minimum of ceremony, much to everyone’s relief. There was a brief nod, perhaps 20 pages of the haggadah, and otherwise, it was down to business with Eric and Nancy’s fabulous cooking.
I drove up to Chilliwack, BC to see a friend (separate article). I took WA state route 9 back instead of the freeway and was overwhelmed at all the new construction in previously rural areas. Whatcom County, the furthest north, had changed the most. I think that at least 80% of the new structures were prefabricated buildings, including double wides for the houses. People use add-ons, plant gardens, and paint, but the buildings are still trailer homes. I guess it makes sense financially, but that is such a beautiful part of the country, in the shadow of Mt. Baker, it seems dissonant.
The USA border town I crossed through was Sumas. It’s still quaint.
Then, I went to a celebration that made my whole trip worthwhile. Two wonderful women, Shawn and Leann, got married in a small, joyous ceremony, by a friend who had become a Universal Life Minister for just this occasion. Here are a few pics of this wonderful wedding.
The last day I was in Seattle, I went to Pike Place Market to buy Jim this particular kind of pepperoni only available in one place in town.
The quality of the buskers (street performers) is improving. There was a guy playing the saw like a virtuoso, an older guy who sang beautifully, and a cool old guy who hummed and made sound effects. The old guy, Preston Koeger, really is old. He’s 100. He told me he worked for Paramount Studios for 18 years doing voice-overs and musical vocals. He was good at duck sounds and sang along with Reggie Miles, the saw player. Preston wore a suit, tie, shiny shoes, a natty hat, and lots of association pins, including several for sharpshooting.
Briggs, the guitar player and singer was in a class of his own. I asked him whether he had ever performed professionally. He nodded at the open guitar case which had accumulated a few bucks and said, “I guess if people pay you, you’re professional.” The last song he did was, “Nobody Loves You When You’re Down and Out.” Autobiographical perhaps, and heart rending. Great voice.
The apartment I was borrowing for the last month was in an affluent Seattle suburb called Mercer Island. As I was madly doing errands the day before I left, I had to pull over and take these pictures of young moms with their babies at an exercise class held on a sidewalk. There was a professional instructor and each mom was lined up facing her baby, who stared back from the stroller. Nice loud music accompanied all, of course. The babies were enchanted.