Saturday, July 23, 2011

78 Minutes of Summer

I know that most of the country is in the grip of an enormous heatwave, but in Seattle we are having quite the opposite. The weather is having a worse season than the Mariners. It has been remarkably cool and wet this year compared to past summers, even for the Pacific Northwest. We are still wearing our fall sweaters and jackets. There seems to be more rain. This is the dry season after all. That brief warm season that we look so forward to in order to make it through the cold wet winter.  So one of our local T.V. weather guys decided to look at our summer warmth minute by minute and see if it was just our imagination, or does this summer suck.
Turns out, this summer does really suck. Using a warmth of summer threshold of 80 degrees, which seems entirely reasonable, we have had exactly 78 minutes of summer!  On July 2 we had 12 minutes of summer and it was glorious. Then again on July 6, a magnificent 66 minutes. Thats right folks, one hour and 6 minutes of glorious summer. Thats it. If you had gone to a movie that day, you would have missed it entirely. There has not even been an officially sunny day since that summer day of July 6th. We have had cold, drizzly, foggy and marine layered weather since. I suppose that we should be thankful that we are not sweltering under the "heat dome" that is all the news in the rest of the country.

You know, someone once said that living in Seattle is like being married to a beautiful woman who is sick most of the time.

>>Being smitten by (even enthralled with) the beauty of one's spouse, whatever the periodic state of his or her health, is completely understandable.  There are undoubtedly places in the Lower 48 that offer, at least seasonally, just as good a balance of beauty and health as Seattle (to extend the metaphor) - perhaps even better.  But they just don't tend to be places with ample opportunities for good jobs, schools, houses, or coffee. 

The vast majority of people in the U.S. should understand that when someone visiting from Seattle says something nice about the beauty you have available locally, that Seattleite is merely trying his or her best to be polite.<<

Seattle Photographs

So if it hits 80 degrees again, run for the beach. Just make sure you take a sweater if you will be out after six!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tribal Canoe Journey

If you know me very well, then you know that I have a great love of history and culture. I garner a great deal of pleasure from learning about different cultures and expanding my knowledge of the world we live in, both the past and the present. Whether it is learning about the Mayans in Belize at the Marco Gonzales dig or exploring the Pacific Northwest native culture, I find history to be fascinating. In this region there is a rich history and culture of the Coast Salish peoples that have been here for thousands of years. I am employed by the Muckleshoot Tribe of Salish peoples whose reservation is located southeast of Seattle on the Muckleshoot plateau, at the base of Mt Ranier. Over the past year and a half that I have been out there, I have learned alot about the lives and traditions of the people. The Muckleshoot Indian Tribe is comprised of the descendants of the area's original Coast Salish peoples. The Tribe has lived in this area for thousands of years, possibly since the last glaciers receded. 
 One of my favorite things to follow is the annual Canoe Journey.  A re-creation of the ancient trade routes undertaken by the Salish people in canoes. There are over 100 tribes from the northwest, Canada and Alaska that take part in this annual journey. Some canoes are on the Salish Sea (Puget Sound) for up to three weeks to reach the hosting tribe. The Muckleshoot hosted a few years ago, this year  the hosts are the Swinomish Tribe north of Seattle. As you can see on the map, there are people paddling from all over the region.  This is a fantastic way to teach the young people about the old ways and to keep the history alive. The youth start training months before the journey, and can paddle hundreds of miles.

The reason that I picked this week to write about the canoe journey, is that I saw them paddling past my house on the sound yesterday morning.  It really was a sight. Canoes and helper boats alongside them, making their way north to Swinomish. I applaud the dedication that it takes to make such a journey. I wish the youth of the Muckleshoot  a safe and enriching experience with a comfortable place to rest along the way!

"daY ved ;urudubicid. " which means "I'll be seeing you" in the Salish language!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Fourth of July Part 2, Party in B-Town

Well folks, it was a very busy weekend in B-Town. Alex came up from Arizona to spend the fourth with us. What a treat to have my bouncing baby boy around for the festivities!  This was his first trip to the Pacific Northwest and he found it pretty cool. Really cool, as it was 120 degrees when he left Phoenix and 60 when he arrived in Seattle.

Is this a handsome guy, or what?
So the 4th started with the community breakfast on the beach at 9am. We didn't get going fast enough to make that, so went into town and had breakfast at Huckleberry Square.  Yummy and the best breakfast in B-Town. Voted on Yelp to be the best place to go with a raging hangover, how can you beat that?

When we got home, we collected Charlie and headed down to the beach via the indian trail. This is the trail that the Salish Indians used in the old days to get down to the shoreline and has been preserved. Also know as the Moonlight Trail.

The weather was fabulous and the flowers were blooming, just a glorious day!
We made our way down to the beach and to the community flag raising ceremony.  As usual, held at the Cancro residence on the beach. The kids recite the pledge of allegiance and we all sing America the Beautiful, a real small town kind of celebration. After the flag is raised and the new neighbors introduce themselves, everyone lines up to follow the newly crowned King and Queen of Three Tree point in a parade along the beach road. It is quite the sight and takes you back to what I had thought was a forgotten era.

Charlie hangin with his friends, making some new ones too

The fireworks chairpersons, Scott Schaefer and Laura Peterson who did a great job of organizing this years show.

The newly elected King and Queen of 3TP

The Parade begins

All of the houses are decorated

After this parade, we went into town for the official Burien 4th of July parade.

Then it's home for potato salad and chicken and of course beer!  A little rest before the rest of the afternoon activities and the fireworks show at night.

So far a great day full of community spirit and celebration of this wonderful country that we call home.  Hope you all had as great a day as we did, and I will finish with some pictures of the fireworks show from our deck.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Three Tree Point and the Fourth of July (Part 1) Intro to Three Tree Point

Three Tree Point is a low, gravelly, triangle-shaped spit jutting into the east side of Puget Sound. It is about the mid-point between Seattle and Tacoma. It is referred to on some navigation charts as "Point Pully", in recognition of crew member Robert Pulley of the Wilkes Expedition.
Ariel View of Three Tree Point with Sea-Tac airport in the background. So when you come to visit, we can be there in a jiffy!

In early years of development on Three Tree Point, a dock was built on the north beach. The area then was primarily used as for resort or summer homes and cabins. As the area grew with more permanent residents, a clubhouse called the cove was built with a tennis court and dance floor area, which was used frequently for events, parties, etc. During the early years of World War II, lookouts would take turns in the light tower, searching the skies for possible enemy planes.
Today, Three Tree Point is a densely populated residential area where much attention has been paid toward tree preservation. Seattle's business elite built houses at the point to take advantage of the beach lifestyle for which it has become known.  The surrounding waters are popular among scuba divers with an artificial reef and a good variety of species to be found there. . The Point received its name from three massive fir trees that stood on its north side at the beginning of the 20th century.

Here is a great link to a diving video shot at 3TP.  This is for Cheryl, Ramona and Bev, my diving home girls.
Giant Sea Cucumber
The book Three Tree Point (Images of America)  presents images of a diverse mixture of family life, unusual characters, Fourth of July celebrations, shipwrecks, fishing derbies and storytelling.  The photos in the book are amazing!

Previous 4th of July fireworks at 3TP
The Beach Road

This community on the water plays host to one of the areas largest block parties with events that run all day long, culminating in a beautiful fireworks show over the water that is entirely paid for by the donations of community members. This years show cost $24,000. There is the community Pancake breakfast, flag raising ceremony, games, bands, kids activities, an art show and much more for the Fourth of July.

Here is a link to the days party schedule and info on our celebration.

So readers, that is a little bit of background on this heavenly spot. I will get back to you after the 4th with details of this years celebration.