Thursday, June 12, 2008

drama queen

You probably already read about it in the trades, but anyway, here are some shots from Ballard High's production of Guys and Dolls. The curtain rose and fell over six sold out performances in April.

This was Larkin's first time auditioning for the school musical and she landed a small part as Irish immigrant Martha, one of the Mission girls. They would usually take the stage en masse, a sea of red piety, with Larkin leading the way carrying various signs.

There was much singing.

And dancing.

And a big finish!

It was an impressive production. The kids were obviously giving it their all, and having a lot of fun. Doesn't get better than that!

Thursday, June 5, 2008


One of the many things I did over the past month+ since falling into blog oblivion was to attend a library conference in Vancouver. That's Washington's Vancouver, not the highly desirable, very cosmo, soul-enchanting city in British Columbia. Our own Vancouver is directly across the Columbia River from Portland, OR, and serves as its less popular big sister who keeps getting passed up for the dance. I have to tell you that I found her to have a lovely personality, a strong back, and a good sense of rhythm.

Being that close to Portland made it a prime op to dine with my favorite brother in the whole entire world. Here he is doing his thing. Looks a lot like my thing, doesn't it?

Unfortunately, I took a whole lot of extremely boring conference pictures. Lucky for you, I will not be sharing any of those. Instead, I'll tell you about going in search of a really old apple tree. I mean a Really Old apple tree.

I heard tell there was this tree, see, somewhere along the Mighty Columbia, and it was considered the oldest known tree from Washington's earliest apple-growing roots. Who wouldn't want to see that?!

I would have been helpless in finding this fabled tree, what with all the other trees distracting me, if it weren't for a most fortuitous sign.

Following the arrow, I went under a rail overpass & voilĂ ! Pommier! In bloom, no less.

And nearby was this Official Rock, proclaiming:

So it was all true about the Really Old apple tree. That made my entire conference experience 10 times better.

Upon my return home, the oddities continued with Eartha greeting me enthusiastically.

And the day finished with yet another freak snow occurrence! Check out these chilly buds. -k8-

Monday, May 12, 2008

walking the walk

With spring so busy springing around here, I haven't made the time to sit down and tap out a proper entry. But then I received a CD of pictures that made it impossible for me not to make the time.

The disk was compliments of Dave "Longshot" Lonergan, the official photographer for Team Laugh. For those not in the know, Team Laugh is the MS Walk team that I co-captain with my sister, Sarah. Check out a few of these top notch shots from Dave...

First this one of Team Laugh before starting out. Back row, L to R, is Dave, Emerich, the space where Tim & Martin would be if they weren't busy gabbing, Max, and Rob. Middle row is Pam in the red scarf, Nick, Emma, Maya, Larkin, Jen, Malila, Sandra, and Tom. Bringing up the front is Kate, Eamon, Rowan, Sarah, and honorary team member Chas, who actually walks with his sister's team.

Most everyone either dressed for the "laugh" theme, or were willing to wear some of the festive props Sarah brought. None was more willing than my zany nephew, Max. Only the foolish fell for his "smell my flower" trick!

With over 4000 walkers, it would have been easy to lose each other, so we had an official team beacon I kept tied to my backpack. It bobbed above the masses and I hear it was easy for my teammates to spot from anywhere.

Rowan's BFF, Eamon, was on hand for the event. He dedicated his walk to his dad, Andy, who's learning to live with ALS.

My pal, Tina, captains her own team, RIBS (Roosevelt Icy Beverage Society).

Everyone who was anyone was there, including these Storm Troopers, who briefly took some of our gals captive.

It truly warmed my heart every time I walked behind a group of my teammates and saw those signs on their backs! (This is the one picture I took, not Dave.)

Martin and Emerich enjoy a water break.

Everyone had big smiles on their faces as they crossed the finish line. Sarah, Pam, and Sandra collect their high fives from the welcoming committee.

Despite the sore feet, Malila and Larkin keep smiling.

Once everyone reassembled, it was off to a fabulous brunch at the Eastside Grill, with the owner hosting us in the private dining room that overlooks Lake Union. They even picked up half our tab! Be sure to patronize their fine establishments...and tell them "Library Kate" sent you!

For our first year as Team Laugh, I was overwhelmed with what we accomplished. With 20+ walkers, we raised over $1500 in donations toward MS research and programs. Thank you so much! But just as surprising was how fun it was. There was a real sense of team spirit, and that we were doing something that collectively counted for more than the sum of its parts.

I hope even more folks can join us next year. And this time, bring a friend!

Monday, April 28, 2008

arts education

Here's another postette so that you don't give up on me before I write something more ample.

On a day the kids had off from school last month, we hopped a Metro and headed downtown to SAM.

In this picture, Rowan creates as Larkin looks on. Not sure who that other kid is. -k8-

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

eartha kitty

This is just to tide you over until I post a real entry. Who doesn't love a cat sitting in the window on a sunny day? -k8-

Monday, April 7, 2008

breaking like the waves at malibu

We had a lovely spring break. I can't tell you what a pleasure it is to be with my family when they're all on a break from school. It used to rip my heart out leaving for work each morning during spring, summer, winter, and all the other school vacations and holidays. As tough as it is to be a school teacher, Tim agrees that it's nearly impossible to beat the benefits of all the time off. Indeed, if it weren't for those breaks, he wouldn't be able to rebuild, allowing him once again to face those students with positive energy and a faith in our future. But getting back to spring break...

It started with an ironic snow storm that hit as I finished loading up the man-van (which Tim usually drives, but we swapped for the me, it smells like sweaty soccer balls & pizza...). Once packed, I gave the dogs some Dramamine. They both suffer car sickness. Despite the medication, Leo threw up on the way there and on the way back. Good times.

My next mission was picking up Rowan and his best friend, Eamon, who got out of their respective schools early for our adventure. We drove north to catch the Edmonds-Kingston Ferry over to the Olympic Peninsula. Our timing was impeccable, arriving just as a ferry was boarding, so we were across in a little over 30 minutes. Resuming our drive to the final destination of Port Townsend, we checked into our lovely old rental house at Fort Worden by 3pm.

I was thrilled with the roomy, simple, and comfortable accommodations. We had an old duplex with 2 floors, 2 bedrooms, and 2 bathrooms. The boys got right to work on that banister, but they had a few technical difficulties.

There was a big front porch, too, which made a good place for Rita & Leo to hang whenever we weren't out exploring. No dogs allowed in the houses, so we transformed the man-van into Dog World for the weekend, which is where they slept. It worked out pretty well, but now it smells like sweaty soccer balls, pizza, AND dog breath. Mmmm. (I was glad to eventually get my car back.)

Back in Seattle, Tim finished up his school day, picked up Larkin from her school, and headed to Emma's. I was especially glad to have her join us, as she and Larkin have been best friends since kindergarten, despite moving apart after 1st grade. They have a deep and abiding friendship, and this isn't the first family vacation that's included our "extra daughter."

By the time they arrived at the house, it was time to put dinner on the table. We made a heap of burritos and salad, inviting our friends Martin and Chas to join us. (As you can see, Chas isn't always a gracious guest. Not to worry, though; he's brandishing a paper sword created by young Eamon, master of markers and scissors.) Chas and Martin rented a duplex down the road, making the trip in Chas's sweet Prius. Here it is enjoying the weather.

A couple of other families were also going to join us, but the plague came down upon their homes prior to the trip, causing one to drop out altogether. But Emilie, Malcolm, & Owen rallied and were able to arrive on Saturday. They just missed the spread we put out, yet were able to score breakfast burritos at the Fort Worden Commons. And not just any breakfast burritos, either. Everything at the Commons is made with organic, local products from within 150 miles. (Later in the weekend, Emilie was taking Owen for a "driving nap," and reported back that she'd come across a drive-through creperie not far from the Fort. A drive through creperie?!) I love Port Townsend!

Breakfast procured, we all hiked around the Fort, making our way beachward. On the way, we found our first battery, where once there were cannons facing out to sea. Fun to climb on, but only a taste of what we were eventually to find. More on that later.

Down on the beach, we played in the sand for a good while.

I went with a breakaway group for a walk down to the lighthouse. It seemed not THAT far from the pier to the lighthouse, but a large expanse of sand can be deceptive, and it turned out to be at least 3 miles round trip. Well worth it, though! It reminded me of the one at Discovery Park.

Saturday evening we hosted the gang at our place, hanging out and cooking up a big spaghetti feed. There was activity throughout the house. The girls took turns having bubble baths in the quaint old clawfoot tub upstairs. Malcolm played a pretty dubious game of Apples to Apples with the boys. Owen and I had a lot of fun playing with pipe cleaners, spreading them all over the living room in a colorful display. Wow!

After some together time Sunday morning, we bid a fond farewell to the TD family. The 4 remaining adults indulged in the Commons' locally famous Sunday Brunch, which is quite the affair. Again--organic, very local, wholesome-yet-decadent, yummy goodness! Before we left for brunch, Tim set up the laptop and projector. The kids stayed at the crib and watched Astro Boy on the big screen, which added to a calmer meal and a smaller bill.

Bellies full, we leashed up the dogs and our remaining band of eight hiked up Artillery Hill, not knowing that we were about to have everyones' favorite time of the whole weekend!

First we came upon Memory's Vault, followed by a couple of miles of genuine American ruins. There were various odd concrete structures, and mile after mile of old batteries that grew out of the hillside in a labyrinth of cement and earth. There were tunnels and rooms and iron doorways and bars. There were ladders and stairs everywhere, going up and going down. The ones going up led to old cannon sites and beautiful vistas. Others led to pitch black tunnels we knew we shouldn't walk through without flashlights, but had to anyway.

I could see a faint light at the end of one dark expanse, so with a little boy clutching either side of me, we made our way through using the flash on my camera. This helped us avoid falling into the depths of hell, or tripping over sleeping vampires, but as this photo clearly reveals, we did manage to walk right through a ghost. Or am I seeing things?

I caught this shot of Martin in front of an excellent example of the rusted iron we encountered everywhere.

We found this mural and poetry painted on the side of the old radio building. Irie!

The iron door at the bottom of the stairs was bolted shut, so we couldn't investigate the SWITCHBOARD any further. But given what looked like blood dripping over the S, I was fine with that.

When we finally trudged down the other side of Artillery Hill many hours later, everyone was exhausted and elated. Sadly, it was time for Martin and Chas to leave, but we were happy for such an exciting and sunny day. Our family had one more night at Fort Worden, but the kids were all pretty tuckered out from the long hike, so we enjoyed a quiet evening lounging around and watching movies.

After feeding the kids, tidying the house, and checking out, we left the packed-up cars behind and headed out for one more hike. Having not yet found the old military cemetery, that was our first destination. We located it down a short trail in a direction we'd not yet been, and it was beautifully tended. We found another trail beyond the cemetery with a sign and arrow pointing the way to "Chinese Gardens." We walked for at least 2 miles, and all the while I'm imagining cherry blossoms and lily pads. But the trail finally opened up onto gorgeous, rolling hills and a meadow by a pond. Not a cherry blossom in sight. Apparently, the area is named for truck gardens operated by Chinese families during the late 1800s. We took a short respite there, the view was so pretty. We watched a kite flying way off in the distance.

It was with heavy hearts that we finally turned our backs on that intensely peaceful scene, and started the journey home. I drew the short straw and was back in the man-van with the boys and dogs. We were a convoy of two until back on the mainland, then we headed different routes to return our extra children to the proper authorities.

It could not have been a better weekend, or have come at a better time. I was in serious need of a reminder that there's the stuff we do all day, all week, all our lives...from morning until night, all in order to maintain our place as humans in this self-created circus called Life. And then there's the stuff that matters, the real stuff: quality time with my children, my husband, my friends; quiet time communing with nature, with animals, with the written word, with my own thoughts and feelings; preparing and serving wholesome foods for others, with love and without expectations; ample time outdoors, breathing deeply and feeling my integral connection with the Mother Ship. -k8-