West Seattle, Washington
Going to have to go look for something to report. Wanted to tell you about the banner from the Fauntleroy pedestrian overpass that’s in some language I don’t even recognize … but I didn’t get a chance to write it down. So that can wait till tomorrow. The sun’s too high in the sky right now to let me stay inside!
Dropped by Caffe Ladro this chilly May Day Night. Busy but eerily quiet. A couple on laptops, a guy making some kind of print art, people at several other tables … yet no one talking. My companion and I chatted, yet felt somehow guilty about it. Is this the new coffeehouse etiquette? Or should we have just gone down to Starbucks and left Ladro in library-style quiet?
-First day of the new season of the West Seattle Farmers’ Market. I won’t make it there this week but if you see this before 2 pm, there’s still time for you to check it out!
-The Water Taxi hits the bay tomorrow. The official celebration’s not till next Sunday, but the WSB clan can’t wait to climb on board for the Maritime Festival next Saturday (which includes great freebie secrets that few people seem to catch on to, including free harbor cruises and free admission to the underattended Odyssey Maritime Museum).
-This one is West Seattle-related only because every Starbucks in the country, WS and elsewhere, has been promoting it: Akeelah and the Bee is actually a very good movie. Wonderful cast. No matter how cold-hearted and cynical you are, it will grab you. (Local aside, looks like our regional spelling bee was just a month ago. The champ came from the Eastside. I can’t find any evidence we’ve ever had one from our side of the pond.)
Some days back, WSB visitor Kathleen enlightened us as to the fate of the woman I remembered as “the bird lady of Beach Drive.” Now I’ve finally figured out what happened to a woman I could correspondingly call “the travel lady of California Avenue” — She runs a business called Cruises by Kay, which until a few years ago was housed in a house on the east side of Cali Ave, just south of the Morgan Junction biz district. Then she moved to a smaller house on the other side of Cali Ave; the previous house went down, condos went up. Now the house that used to bear her signs is also targeted for the wrecking ball (backhoe), and the building permit site says townhouses are going up. Rooting around a Web site for her agency, I found an address that suggests she moved to Bremerton. I hear that’s a hot neighborhood for real-estate gentrification too …
I’m not deeply into live music, so all I can say is, just don’t ever try mixing the music festival with the Fourth of July again … that happened at least once in the late ’90s, and I remember being at the beach and trying to reconcile the splendor of the fireworks with the grungy dirge of the 10 pm stage act … yii.
… so are the days of our West Seattle Lives?
Don’t know if “Days of Our Lives” is even around or, if it is, whether it still starts with something like that. Inspiration is this blog entry by somebody who seems to be mulling the creation of a soap set in West Seattle.
In my neighborhood, it wouldn’t be sex and other sassiness, it would be people slugging it out over hedge-trimming and obnoxious pets …
While checking out the Cupcake Royale/Talarico’s Pizza progress in the Junction the other night, we noticed some remod is going on in the former Urban Fitness space. Just looked up construction permits for that address — and one permit is for Super Supplements! Checked out their site, and sure enough, the vitamin megastore is coming soon to that spot.
As much as we love Alki’s own Statuette of Liberty, spending time debating which way it faces seems just a bit out o’whack.
However, if you’re wondering about our viewpoint, we vote for east. The Mayans built their temples so shrines would face that way, since that’s where the sun rises. So what the heck. Let’s build the statue a pyramid pedestal too. Then someday tourists will marvel over the mystical ruins of Alki, and … OK, sorry, got carried away there.
Tomorrow night (Thursday), Madison Middle School here in West Seattle is the site of the first hearing on the latest Seattle Public Schools closure plan-in-the-works. From the sound of articles like this, more SPS parents are resigned to the idea of closures. Why aren’t we putting pressure on higher-up leaders for more school $ instead? Why are our city and state leaders running around wasting even one iota of breath on a whiny sports team that wants hundreds of millions of dollars, when schools are so deeply in need? Reminds me of the poignant old bumper sticker that said something like, “It’ll be a great day when schools have all the money they need and the military has to have a bake sale to build a bomb.” Let’s make a new version: “It’ll be a great day when schools have all the $ they need and sports teams have to have bake sales to get new stadiums.”
OK, if you can get past NEXT weekend, looks like TWO big events are happening here on the West Side the last weekend of the month: one has earned the nickname “Geek Slumber Party“; the other, just sounds like a big fun excuse to wander around the Junction (maybe a couple of the new businesses will be open in time)!
Sorry for the downtime. We’ll be back in daily (at least) posting mode as of tomorrow (Saturday) … meantime, as we catch up, we see the county’s finally officially announced the start date for the Elliott Bay Water Taxi. Woo-hoo-hoo! Just in time for the Maritime Festival, as usual.
We’ve gone past the Cat’s Eye Cafe’ a few times recently to see if it showed any signs of reopening, three months after the crash that closed it. No signs of anything … till we went by last night; the cafe’s marquee along Fauntleroy Way has a hand-lettered sign stuck on its south side, NATIVE PLANT SALE. Hard to tell in the dark but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s associated with the cafe — the patch of ground between its parking lot and the sidewalk used to bloom profusely in spring and summer with wonderful plants including lupines. Is this “everything must go,” or just a desperate attempt to raise a few more $? We’ll keep an eye out …
Also a note, our updates here for the next few weeks won’t be quite as frequent as they’ve been. Big project at work is about to eat every waking hour and restrict personal Web access. But it’s got a definite end date, so we’ll ramp back up afterward.
I’m a big fan of the smoking ban but I have to agree with West Seattle Blogger Spouse, it just seems wrong somehow for smokers to even have to take it outside at divey little joints like Chuck ‘n’ Sally’s. Quite the little clot of puffers standing outside there a bit earlier tonight, perhaps getting ready to tank up for the Big Basketball Game …
I thought the Monorail Board wasn’t supposed to decide the fate of the tab tax till they opened the bids and told us all how much $ they would reap from the real-estate sendoff. Guess not.
Also … for those of us envious of waterfront-property owners … here’s something to dunk your envy in today.
It’s nice to have this tiny nook on the Web to ramble about memories as well as what’s happening now. That said — our jaunt to Alki yesterday reminded me that I still don’t know the fate of The Bird Lady of Beach Drive. She lived in a white bungalow across from the open waterfront at Emma Schmitz Viewpoint, an older lady with wild long salt-and-pepper hair and glasses. Many mornings, you’d see her out on the grassy streetside waterfront bank across from her house, throwing food at seagulls and ranting loudly at the world as her hair danced in the breeze like a kite. More than once, I saw her at West Seattle Thriftway, continuing her semi-high-volume muttering while shopping.
In the past few years, I hadn’t seen her, but her old mini-station-wagon-type car was still parked next to her house, so I suspected she was still in there somewhere.
Then some months back — the “FOR SALE” sign went up, and the station wagon was nowhere in sight. Yesterday, in fact, as we passed the cottage, an open house was under way, and that reminded me I still didn’t know the fate of The Bird Lady of Beach Drive — dead? living with a caretaker? institutionalized? Certainly a memorable WS character, and those are in shorter supply these days.
The March issue of the Alki News Beacon is out … and our dear pals are revealing rough times. Good gosh, in a world where we can spend billions on bombs, we should be able to scrape up a few bucks for a good grass-roots community group & its newsletter.
I was going to suggest — have you guys tried brainstorming with Megawatt? Then I went to the MW home page & got an idea … how about a big rummage sale to raise $ for your group? I don’t live on that side of town any more but I promise I’d donate!
Had no idea that Fire Station 37 on 35th SW is a historic landmark.
But it says so right here, on a page I looked up after receiving a flyer making its way around this side of WS. According to the flyer, the city is going to sell off Historic Station 37 and build a new one a couple blocks to the south, on land that’s currently home to a house and a substation (apparently NOT historic).
Found a bit more about Current Station 37’s allegedly historic nature here. So will West Seattle’s Log House Museum be joined by a Fire House Museum?
–Two more Signs of Spring over the weekend: The first wave of dandelion invasion, followed by the first door-hanger flyer from the Unmarked Truck Gardener Services. Yeah, I know, my yard will never make it into the pages of Pacific Northwest magazine. But at least it’s organic. (Death to dandelions — but never by chemicals — only mano-a-mano combat.)
–Still working on the Ben & Jerry’s “investigation.” Didn’t get back to the Junction to try to read the posted permit in daylight; did search the city permit database, nothing new there; maybe it’s a different type of permit.
–If you’re wondering why TV news crews are in the Admiral Junction tonight, here’s the story.
–Found out a bit more about the Ben & Jerry’s mystery in the (Alaska) Junction. Went to the Ballard B & J’s, whose owners also ran the WS B & J’s. We asked the guy behind the counter what’s up with the WS location; he told us “It’s been sold. Might stay a Ben & Jerry’s, might not, don’t know.” Then we stopped by the Junction to take a look for ourselves. You can see inside from the south side windows, which are only partly papered. Tearing it up like that wouldn’t make sense if it’s going to stay a B and J’s. There’s a permit posted by the front door but the light was too dim for us to read it (gotta go back in daylight tomorrow). Our money’s on another food franchise replacing it – Starbucks or Quizno’s.