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Buck and Cousin Denny making beer.
July 16th, 1999

New Seattle, Old Seattle
Everyone in the house this morning was talking about the thunderstorm last night that flashed and boomed and awakened everyone except those who have mastered the Zen art of narcotic never to be awakened unless absolutely necessary and sometimes not even then sleep. Such as I. It rains in Seattle (!!!), but not that many thunderstorms. Makes the natives nervous. Seattle was always a city where everybody owned a raincoat, but rarely an umbrella, where you could drive by houses watering their lawns while it was raining because, although it rains a lot, it never quite rains enough to keep them green.

Bed by ten, up at six, notice I don't have to get into work this morning, back to sleep, awake again at ten. Twelve hours less whatever. Life is going to be OK, even in the deep dark future (the land of those, for example, who are over 60), if I can get a good night's sleep.

So, Seattle on a Friday, the middle of a working day. Drive down 15th Ave. NW and have the fish/chips/clam soup special at the little fast food Ivar's. Ivar Haglund, the founder of Ivar's Acres of Clams, hokey Ivar with his "Keep Clam" (and worse) advertising on radio and television over the years before anybody heard that eating deep fried fish and potatoes was maybe not, um, survivable in the long run. Fuck it, I ate the halibut and the chips, tartar sauce and ketchup, white clam soup and a lemonade.

I drove by my grandmother's house and my parents house located next door, the house I lived in until the age of five. They'd added drive around islands in the middle of the street crossings, everything just a little bit narrower than it should have been for two lanes of traffic. Many changes, but it's still a quiet street in the middle of a quiet maybe a little less blue collar neighborhood and I drove right to it without thinking. I walked these streets many times on five year old legs, got knocked down once on the sidewalk in the front of the house by an earthquake, the distances seeming longer. Got out of the car and took some pictures. What I call the little yellow house, my parents old house, is no longer yellow. Both houses have been remodeled and repainted and landscaped however many times and I really wouldn't have recognized either one of them just from a picture without an address.

Drove out to the old house in Woodway Park where we lived until I was 12 and we moved to New York. Woodway Park was a mix of old money houses along the bluff overlooking the Puget Sound just south of Edmonds and a bunch of barely had two nickels to rub together young families starting out in the interior, the commute to downtown Seattle about 45 minutes before there were any freeways. Fairly dense second growth forest, plenty of empty forest covered land between the houses. Good place for a kid. I drove by the driveway entrance of our old house, couldn't see a thing through the trees. The neighborhood was no longer comprised of young families starting out and my guess is you can buy a fixer upper for maybe $600K. No longer my old neighborhood, somebody else's old neighborhood now. Driving out to Aurora I passed a mile and half long line of cars waiting to take the ferry to Whidby Island.

I think if I move from the Bay Area I'll find a place I haven't lived before, someplace where you don't have to wait two hours in a line to get on the ferry. With a nice fast Internet connection. House doesn't have to be fancy as long as its not too cold in the winter. And it doesn't rain all the time.

The banner photograph was taken with the digital camera at my aunt's house in the Ballard district of Seattle this afternoon as my cousin Denny and his friend Buck were making beer and watching the British Open on TV. They knew the names of all the players and were part of some sort of betting pool based upon the results. I felt uninformed.