Friday, January 29, 2010

day off

I didn't realize until two days ago that there was no school today so we have an impromptu enforced day off. It's not raining so I'm thinking today would be a good day for my daughter practicing bike riding or roller blading. I'm really in need of some out door time after being sick for a week.

I spent the day at work in Pioneer Square yesterday catching up on everything. I took Willow (the pitbull) since I knew I'd be there the whole time my daughter was at school (had I had some foresight to set up a playdate for her I could've been there longer).

I was walking Willow under the viaduct and thinking about the chapter I'm currently reading in Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck when he travels into Seattle. The year is 1960, seven years before I was born and around the time that my parents met each other when they were at the UW. I remember downtown Seattle from when I was really little in bits and pieces of imagery and the rest of my impression is what the adults said about it in my presence as opposed to my personal three or five or seven year old impression. I remember them talking about all the bums in downtown (not "homeless" but the guys who drink themselves into oblivion and live on the street corners). And I remember them talking about crime and drugs down by Pike Place Market and I remember all the bright, pretty neon strip club signs on First Avenue. They called Pioneer Square "skid row" and that seemed to mean it was full of drug dealers and alcoholics. And when I talk about "downtown" I'm literally talking about from Bell Town to Pioneer Square and from the waterfront up to about Boren. Capitol Hill and First Hill were not considered "downtown" at least by us back then. First Hill was "pill hill" where the hospitals were and the artists lived in their apartments in old, classic architecture apartment buildings.

So, it's interesting to read Travels with Charley and hear that John Steinbecks impression of Seattle in 1960 was very similar to my memory of Seattle of an only slightly later time. I guess I had always assumed that my parents - being parents - had a very different view of it. A more critical, exaggerated "it's so much worse than it really is" view of it. It's also interesting to hear what John Steinbecks impression of Seattle from the 1940's was like. I've heard a little about it from my dad, who grew up on Beacon Hill on Warsaw Street, but I haven't heard a lot.

Eventually the viaduct is getting torn down which to me is a bummer. I realize it is the last place any of us want to be in "the big one" earthquake, but it has been there my whole life and I can't even count how many times I've traveled across it. Coming from the southwest end of the city we always took the viaduct to get into downtown. It has one of the best views in Seattle. Besides the Space Needles of course. Well, and now the bathrooms at the top of the Columbia Tower.

Diamond is now obsessed with going outside to hunt. A couple days ago she followed me outside when I went to feed the chickens and then I couldn't find her. I looked all over the house then looked around the backyard and finally found her when the chickens started squawking and flying around in panic because she'd snuck up on the backside of their run and pounced at the chicken wire.

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