It’s Been a Long Time!

Yikes!  Haven’t posted in ages. Looks like I’ve got some catching up to do.

Seattle highlights: I’ve been back for a few weeks but it seems like just a week. Great trip. A few key moments:

  • WritersUA conference: sessions went well, did some good networking, and had the final word as part of the panel of “experts” closing out the conference.
  • Linking up with Ben and Stuart, two guys from my high school class. Hadn’t seen them for 32 years.
  • Dinner with a friend followed by a terrific performance at Pacific Northwest Ballet: the meal was as visually interesting as it was tasty, and the performances were ranged from strangely modern to neo-classical. 
  • Alki Beach on a sunny, warm Saturday: great walk with my dad (see pictures of that amazing stainless steel Shelby in previous post).
  • Spa Day with my mom: Olympus Spa is amazing. A far cry from the chlorine-smelling, cellphone-ringing places I’ve seen…
  • Iron Goat Trail: great hike with my dad. The old railroad line is a fairly easy grade (after the initial steep elevation switchbacks) and we lucked out with the weather. The old tunnels are worth seeing and parts of the old snow sheds are still visible.
  • A surprise wine tasting: stumbled across a free wine tasting at a very chi-chi gourmet food place in Ballard. Interesting, but my palate prefers a more mundane, drinkable wine. These were very challenging vinos, to be sure!
  • Dinner with cousins: a charming little bistro with interesting appetizers.
  • Pesach with my folks: the whole megillah, from cleaning, shopping, shlepping, chopping, cooking, prepping, etc. Low-keyed but good.
  • Bargain hunting: prices on clothes and shoes in the States are a fraction of what I would pay at home. Replaced my rain shell but still haven’t figured out the mystery of the “quick pack hood” feature. Color me perplexed.
  • Meeting a lovely Turkish woman while waiting at Schiphol: it is funny how you can connect with people in unexpected places.
  • Seeing my nephew and brother-in-law: Bellingham day trip. Nice to see that my brother-in-law is doing OK.
  • More stuff that I can’t think of at the moment!  Will try to post pictures later.

World’s worst dog: Terri moved into a new class of naughtiness the other night. I was entertaining and had put the cheeses out to soften. We were on the balcony enjoying a glass of wine and watching the sunset. Came back in to discover Terri standing on a chair and gobbling cheese. She had licked up most of the camembert, which was quite ripe and therefore rather runny, and had moved on to a garlic and dill boursin. I was mortified, but my guest thought it was hysterically funny. 

I’ve got a goat!  After ogling this lovely hung of rock for about a year, I finally conned a neighbor into helping me heft it onto a hand cart and shlep it upstairs. It looks like a modern sculpture of a goat (at least to me). I’ll try to get pictures later…

This is just like the service I got on KLM: This skit from the old Carol Burnett Show may be 35 years old, but it reminds me of some of the flight crew on KLM and Air France.  Flying on a budget can be hell.

National holiday marathon: Last Monday was Yom haShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day); tonight starts Yom haZikaron (Memorial Day), followed immediately by Yom haAtza’ut (Independence Day).  It is an odd time of somber reflection and great sadness, but also of great pride. I’ve got flags flying from my balcony and will inevitably get all choked up tonight at the city’s memorial ceremony. So many strange misconceptions about my little country; I was thinking that the other day when talking to a teenage Bedouin boy who sporting braces and unaccented Hebrew. Still odder, he cuddled Terri (the overwhelming majority of Arab kids are afraid of dogs). That same day, I saw a car turn in to one of the big Bedouin houses, flags proudly whipping in the wind. Cool.

Wildlife: Haven’t seen the jackals recently, but Terri and I had a near run-in with a big snake the other night. We were jogging through a stretch of road that is pitch dark, when this big snake zipped right across in front of us. I almost stepped on it. There are apparently 41 species of snakes here, but only a handful of them are poisonous. This looked like one of those deadly vipers or even a black adder. Probably a less scary whip snake. Big (about 5 cm thick, 150 – 200 cm long), and moving very fast like a sidewinder.  I’m not afraid of snakes, but I still let out a yelp of surprise. Springtime is when many people get bit, because the snakes are waking up from hybernation and they are hungry and cranky.

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