Our first snow arrived earlier this week but was short-lived. The ground is all clear, the air icy cold, while we wait for the next round of snow to appear. Clouds are moving in but glorious patches of blue remain like parfait.
Is this the sky speaking before the storm arrives? We shall see. The forecast keeps changing and I fear I shall yet be disappointed.
I love the snow. That, in spite of the fact I once spent 10 hours snow bound on Interstate 5 between Seattle and Renton. That’s love, yes? Of course it does make for a good story (another time perhaps) but my favorite snow memories are more wonderful. Such as that day many years ago when ….
I walked across the campus in the falling snow. It was my first day of college and I was giddy with joy. After working almost five years after high school, I had saved up some money, quit my job, and moved to Bellingham to attend Western Washington University. I made my way past Old Main dressed in blue jeans and jacket, the fresh snow crunching under my boots. Oh the adventure!
The university catalog would be my tour guide and I reveled in choosing the places I would go, the people I would meet, the things I would see! The Byzantine Empire. Dostoyevsky and The Underground Man. Astronomy, complete with roof top views of Jupiter’s moons and Saturn’s rings. I still couldn’t believe I could arrange my schedule as I liked, take whatever I wanted, and still have time to read for hours in the library or break with friends over coffee. So this was school. Where had I been? The snow only completed the picture, adding to the magic.
Snow! Perhaps it triggers some memories in you too?
This is Benji and today I got to see my first snow. It made the world white and cold. Soft and wet. I liked it best from my warm printer perch.
I like snow.
This is Tiger and I gotta tell you it’s not been easy training my little brother, Benji.
No, he’s not my blood brother even if there is a resemblance. We couldn’t be more different. I’m the strong one with the white feet; he’s the pipsqueak with the chopped ear. He is young and impertinent. I am wise and mature. He is bold and hyperactive. I have learned to conserve my energy so it’s available when needed. He is as impetuous as youth. I am a cautious and sensitive soul.
My mission is to train the lad in the subtle ways of the Cat and teach him submission. It is an arduous task. Sue helps me out when she can using the squirt bottle as needed. Grandma provides me refuge in her room when I need a break. When she closes the door it is she and I against the world.
And when I tire of it all I flee outside to secret places. I know my kingdom like the back of my paw and can easily lose the cowboy in the bush. (Hmmmm … now there’s a thought….) Unfortunately the seasons are changing and I smell snow in the mountains nearby. Soon I shall have to hole up inside. It shall be a long winter.
And so I remain,
~ the Tiger
It was late in the afternoon and I had to run to the store for some last minute items. When I returned to my car it seemed that storm clouds were gathering and the sky had become a strange mix of color. I was a block away when I knew I had to stop and take a picture of the sunset which lasted only a few minutes and could not be seen by the time I got home.
I was glad I did.
Benji is a very cute and soft kitten. Looks can be deceiving.
Benji is also an active kitten and destroyer of small objects. Case in point.
The perch above serviced several cats before Benji arrived on the scene. None of them chewed off the edge as Benji was compelled to do. Please note the boy is well fed and has no need for additional roughage in his diet.
Second case in point.
The troll doll.
I have taken to collecting objects from my childhood and had been on the lookout for a small troll doll with orange hair. (It reminds me of the day when the ground shook at school during the 1965 Seattle earthquake . Collectibles are like that, bringing memories to the front. But excuse me, I digress.)
So I recently found a troll doll with yellow hair in a collectible store and I brought it home and placed it on a shelf in my office. I like yellow as much as or more than orange. It would do nicely until an orange one could be found.
After some time I noticed the doll was missing and found it later under my desk. I was slow to understand and returned it to the shelf. The next time it disappeared I found it after a few days behind my chair. Back to the shelf it went. Then one day I came upon Benji carrying off the poor doll as prey. This time I hid it in the closet. Unfortunately the closet door is sometimes open and therefore inviting. Thus I found the doll on the closet floor with the hair increasingly unattached to the scalp.
Fortunately through all this, the troll doll is still smiling. So am I.
I must say that sleeping humans are not that cute (with the exception perhaps of baby humans.) They are twisted and have messy unmanageable hair and bed-clothes and sometimes thrash around. Indeed humans do not wish to be seen sleeping, nor to be seen waking up in the morning without a substantial amount of time spent to make themselves presentable.
Not so with cats. All cats have a particular expression of joy while sleeping and are very pleasant to look at. Their soft fur stays nice and intact at all times and the feet are particularly cute. Here are some examples.
Tiger is 8 years old and still enjoys sleeping very much.
Not all cats sleep the same but they all sleep cute. Here is Benji sleeping. He is not quite one year old.
After an unseasonably warm start to November the rainy season is officially upon us. What to do, what to do? You can either lament the weather and hunker down inside for the next six months… or you can plan your rainy day activities now. Here’s one for starters: MOHAI. No it’s not some exotic island in the Pacific; it’s Seattle’s own Museum of History and Industry at its new location on the shores of Lake Union.
The Grand Atrium
One recent rainy day we made the trek into Seattle to visit the museum. First up was the Grand Atrium where we saw colorful icons from Seattle’s past. Soaring overhead – Boeing’s first commercial aircraft, the 1919 B-1 flying boat (the only one made) which provided international airmail service between Seattle and Victoria, B.C. for eight years. Also on display: the Rainier brewery sign, Slo-Mo-Shun IV the legendary hydroplane, and the original Lincoln Toe Truck with its big toe reaching 11 feet into the air.
Before continuing to the next floor I watched a short film and was reminded of the many companies that got their start in Seattle beginning with the granddaddy of them all, the Boeing Airplane Company. Did you know that a Boeing 737 takes off or lands somewhere every two seconds? Starbucks opened its first store in 1971 at the Pike Place market and changed America forever by making strong, delicious (overpriced) coffee available on every corner. And how about Microsoft, started by two local brainy teenagers Bill Gates and Paul Allen, that other billionaire maker, Amazon, just to name a few.
Of course there’s too much in the museum to cover in a single post, so I’ll just mention a few things of interest, starting with the landing at Alki.
Denny Party arrives at Alki
In November of 1851 twenty-two white settlers known as the Denny Party come ashore at Alki Point in the dreary cold and icy rain. How fitting. Chief Seattle and his tribe welcomes them and eventually the new town is named after the accommodating chief. Henry Yesler starts up a lumber mill on Elliott Bay and logs are dragged to the mill down “Skid Road.” The town grows and there seems to be a shortage of women who might teach and perhaps marry the loggers. What to do? Import them!
Here Come the Brides
Asa Mercer goes east in search of educated and adventurous women who are willing to come to Seattle. The journey was a long one from Massachusetts to the Isthmus of Panama and San Francisco to finally reach Seattle. In 1864 the first small group of women arrives with more to follow. Remember the nineteen sixties TV show that tells the story? I do!
The Big Fire of 1889
The town continues to grow and prosper until like any big city worth its salt in history, it burns to the ground. On June 6, 1889 the main business core of Seattle (mainly built of wood) burns down when a glue-pot tips over. The volunteer fire department shows up but alas there is no water to be had anywhere. As the singing exhibit will tell you, “The tide was out and the hydrants were dry!”
There was no loss of life but the town was turned into rubble, leading to rebuilding with brick and mortar under new building codes.
(By the way it is a fact that much of the new town was rebuilt on top of the old one giving rise to today’s tours of Underground Seattle in Pioneer Square, which most locals never take; but hey, don’t let that stop you!)
Fast forward to the 20th Century and Music, Music, Music!
Yes, Seattle has a vibrant music history! Ray Charles moves to Seattle in 1948 and cuts his first record in his adopted city. He meets Quincy Jones who grew up here. Jimmy Hendrix also grows up in Seattle and teaches himself guitar. And grunge rock takes off in the eighties led by the likes of Kurt Cobain, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden.
The Seattle World’s Fair
And how can I fail to mention the 1962 Century 21 Exposition otherwise known as the Seattle World’s Fair that helped shape Seattle’s future and brought the Space Needle to our skyline? You can learn all about it at MOHAI.
So why don’t you come and see the exhibits for yourself the next time the rain is falling?
Until then I’ll leave you with this Happy Ending from Elvis at the World’s Fair!
So long for now and …. Mohai!
More nose to nose. Less rebuke and hissing. More close encounters of the peaceful kind. Less misunderstanding the intentions of the other. No, I’m not talking about the country (though that would be good too.) I’m talking about Tiger the resident tabby and his new little brother Benji. After almost three months, rejection is giving way to tolerance, and tolerance to acceptance, and acceptance approaching understanding. Friendship is sure to follow.
Tiger – Benji is my little brother. I can tell by his chopped ear that he had a rough first life. I went through hard times too. I’m learning that his annoying behavior is playful and not malicious. He’s still young and can’t help himself. I guess I was like that too once. Sue wants us to get along and so I am trying. Someday I may like him more than I do now. But I do not hate him. We share the same house and I know he is part of our family. I think there is room for both of us.
Benji – I like Tiger. He is big and strong. I want to play with him but need to learn how. He doesn’t like me to pounce on him so I am trying hard to stop. He is sure to remind me if I forget. I hope someday we get along even better and have lots of fun outside together. He is a good hunter and I want him to teach me the ways of the stealthy cat. When I grow up I want to be like him. I think there is room for both of us.
~ Susanne and Tiger and Benji