Discovery Park

Ever fantasized about living in the woods? Imagine sipping cold water from a flowing stream as Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Rumpelstiltskin play hide and seek in a glen just a few yards away. Of course, you might have to contend with the occasional ogre or troll, but with numerous cottages and heroes all around, you’d still be safe. Discovery Park in Magnolia gives you that warm fuzzy ‘Once upon a time’ feeling the minute you step foot in it. You stroll through quietly, almost anticipating the arrival of dwarfs, Hansel and Gretel or a dragonslayer astride a white horse. It could happen.

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Magnolia, WA

DCIM100MEDIA DCIM100MEDIA DCIM100MEDIA DCIM100MEDIA DCIM100MEDIA DCIM100MEDIA DCIM100MEDIA DCIM100MEDIA DCIM100MEDIANice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live here. Or so the saying goes. Actually, I do live here and it is a nice, albeit quiet, place to visit. I’m not patting myself on the back though because I know first hand how quickly someone can go from being domiciled to homeless.

I didn’t like being homeless. It’s so degrading. Now, whenever I see my homeless brothers and sisters sleeping under bridges and begging for change in the street, my heart bleeds for them. And I wouldn’t dare look down on them because I, or anyone else, could join their ranks in a heartbeat. And with that I bring you some photos I took of Magnolia.

The photos of cottages were taken at Magnolia Park. Aren’t they cute? The white cottage with the Tudor styling reminds me of a fairy tale house. You can almost see Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs sitting around a wooden table eating porridge or whatever fairy tale characters eat.

The photo of the barge was taken from one of the numerous bluffs overlooking Puget Sound.

The blue water tower, which sort of resembles a bulbous spacecraft, sits smack in the middle of Magnolia and, I believe, it’s the area’s highest point.

Beautiful, million dollar homes adorn the flower-scented landscape of Magnolia. Just riding around town on a moped or bicycle brings you face to face with some of the most beautiful architecture in Seattle. No doubt they must be the homes of doctors, lawyers and business executives. I bet that sports figures from the Seahawks or Mariners also live here. I wouldn’t be surprised.

What’s missing from this photo montage are pictures from Discovery Park, the largest city park in Seattle. Once, I was standing there on one of the 200 foot high bluffs looking out at the Sound. Suddenly, an eagle came flying right by me. Flanked on its left and right were crows, flapping their wings to keep up with the majestic bird which wasn’t even flapping its wings at all. It was a pretty close up view, too. It’s clear to see why the eagle is the national bird of the U.S. It looks powerful and graceful at the same time. I wish I had brought my camera. Well, maybe better luck next time.

Sometime in the near future I’d like to take pictures of the places some rock icons lived and died. I have a basic understanding of where Quincy Jones lived and Kurt Cobain died but I’ve never seen those places. I do know where Layne Staley died because it was a five story building right around the corner from a club I used to play in with MOON.

I also think it’d be nice to visit some of the places Bruce Lee lived although, just from hanging around the International District, I’m sure I’ve been to a few places where he’d eaten.

Used car blues

carlift_e0I have yet to buy a used car that didn’t need some fixing. I guess that’s the nature of the beast. You buy and you fix. My first car, a 1962 Mercury Comet that cost me $1, needed so much fixing I may as well had saved up and bought something new. Throughout the years, with all my cars, something needed to be done. The Kia I just bought is no exception. The windshield washer motor doesn’t spray water to the windshield. Both side view mirrors are non-operational electrically. The air bag light is on. I just got back from Les Schwab a few minutes ago. They did a free break inspection. My brakes are fine but my rotors are bent (hence the stutter when I brake) and my struts are leaking fluid. The cost to fix? $900. “Hmm, not today,” I told them. “Maybe some other time.” The car can also use a paint job. The estimate I received last week from Maaco was $790 for a good paint job to $1000 for an excellent paint job. Oy! I’m already beginning to feel the burn!

Ballard Food Pantry

Now that I have a car, I can visit the pantry every week if possible. I couldn’t visit before because I’d have to walk some pretty good distances with heavy groceries and I don’t have a cart. It was crowded when I got there today. I also noticed they are now open four days a week instead of three. If that’s a harbinger of how our economy has weakened, that’s not a good sign. I’ve belonged to the pantry for about six years. In that time I’ve received food I normally wouldn’t buy, like sandwich wraps from Trader Joe’s or vegetables I’d typically ignore in supermarkets. These would include asparagus, eggplants, artichokes, squash, parsnips and turnips. With all the unfamiliar vegetables I’ve had to look online for recipes. Cooking all of them has been a breeze because boiling seemed to be the preparation of choice. It’s the same thing when I get my hands on Asian vegetables like pak choy, daikon or lotus root. Boiling is the way to go.

Seattle is the loneliest city in the world

You know, I’m a man of simple pleasures. Some of my simpler activities are going for leisurely strolls around town, going to the movies and dining in restaurants. Ever since I got here seven years ago I’ve noticed a trend – the plethora of lonely people in this town takes the proverbial cake. Just walking past various restaurants you see people eating alone, men and women. At the movies people sit alone. They wait at the bus stops alone. They shop for groceries alone. They walk their dogs alone. They go to concerts, ride their bikes, jog and drive to work alone. I think the saddest thing anyone can see is a woman dining alone. I hadn’t noticed this in Nashville, L.A., NY, New Jersey, Providence, Iowa, Wyoming, South Dakota, Flagstaff or any other places I’ve been. Seems to be so common here. Very sad. At least women here feel safe about dining alone. It still seems surrealistic when I see it though, like an Ingmar Bergman film come to life.

Roadkill restaurant

Roadkill Cafe

Roadkill Cafe

When I lived briefly in Nashville, I was homeless for a while. One of my coworkers at Walmart said I could stay in his one bedroom apartment with him. I was a little skeptical (Okay, a lot skeptical) but I did anyway for a few days. He kept his place so hot you could fry eggs on the living room table. It was actually near impossible to sleep there so I didn’t last there too long, maybe 2-3 days for the most. What was interesting was that he had a plastic bucket in his refrigerator with roasted raccoon meat. I asked him where he’d gotten it. “I caught it myself,” he replied. “What?” I asked. “You set a trap?” “Yeah,” he answered. “They’re pretty slow and easy to snag.” He offered to heat up a piece for me but I refused. He was insulted. “It’s good eating!” he extolled. “I don’t deny that,” I admitted, “but I’m not hungry right now.” Truth be told, roadkill registers with me right alongside stewed mealworm and fried grasshopper. I know in Louisiana they love them some fried nutria, squirrel, rattlesnake, possum, badger, hedgehog and hare. Like an old friend of mine used to say, fricassee that fucker and you’ll eat nice. I don’t know. Maybe I challenge myself too much but life is short. You only live once. If other people can get into roasted beaver, I guess I can, too.

New car, new listing

2001 Kia Optima LX

2001 Kia Optima LX

First, I rejoined the transportation world today. I bought a maroon 2001 Kia Optima LX. (No doubt I bought this Korean export because I’ve been watching a lot of Korean films lately). It has some minor issues but nothing that a little love can’t fix. I also officially became a “writer” today. There’s a certain criteria poets and writers have to make before their websites can be listed at Poets & Writers. In my case, I would have to be published in at least six journals to qualify. Since I qualified, they listed this site today. Those are the good news. The bad news is I’ll have to find a job quickly because I’m running out of funds. Anyway, I’m not worried. There’s still enough space under the Ballard Bridge to accomodate one more vagrant.