Washington

Posted by Ellen

Obviously worth a trip downtown, in Spokane, Washington.

Posted by Ellen

The landlord told the tenants in this little house in Seattle that the place needed painting, and that he and his guys would be taking care of it. And it was true, apparently, that it needed painting, and also true that the landlord and his guys came over recently to do the work.

The job took two weeks. They painted a sunrise on this side of the house, and a sunset on the other side. Before then, both sides had been plain and gray.

The tenants say they like the house and they like the landlord, and it will take a lot more than this to get them to leave.

Posted by Ellen

There are good things to say about summertime, but there's also this: it was too damn hot. The air finally feels fresh and pleasant at this new-beginning time of year, even if I've had the same song in my head now for forty-one Septembers. . . .

Kin

Posted by Ellen

At John and Bonnie's wedding this summer, guests were encouraged to pose for pictures in a photo booth. The people in these shots are pretty much all related to me in some way or another, most through marriage, either mine or my son's. 

Posted by Ellen

In the archives of the old Harris & Ewing photo studio in Washington, D.C., is the glass negative for this picture, with no caption information whatsoever.

What think you? A posed shot to promote new lawnmowers with Ajax Ball Bearings? Political imagery to promote a candidate with hard-working American (grass)roots? Somebody's aunt?

1920s? 1940s?

Couple of thoughts: Years ago, we lived in a neighborhood of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where most of our neighbors were older people. By then, lawnmowers had gasoline engines, but I recall that pushing them was considered women's work. More recently, when we lived in Maine, I often saw older couples out in the morning clearing their walks with gasoline-powered snowblowers. The division of labor for this task was that the man walked behind the snowblower while the woman worked alongside with a shovel.

What I like best about this picture: the pearls.

Posted by Ellen

At the feet of the fiddler in this picture is his open violin case, with a hat in it. He is riding the Washington State ferry that crosses Puget Sound between Edmonds and Kingston, just north of Seattle. I don't know if he's trying to make a living this way or just hoping to pull in a few bucks or simply earning back his ferry fare as he rides the water. It's also possible that he's doing this because he lost a bet. Whatever, this crossing had a soundtrack that I used to believe was better suited to trains than to boats: Foggy Mountain Breakdown and Orange Blossom Special.

(Reposted from a 7 November 2008 posting to an antediluvian ancestor of this blog.)

Posted by Ellen

Our son John Stein and Bonnie Strelitz were married last weekend in Seattle. I don't remember the rings sparkling quite this much, but the sun was smiling and the stars all a-whispering their warmest good wishes.

Posted by Ellen

In 1920, this was Dead Man's Curve on the main highway connecting Washington and Baltimore. The small sign in the middle of the photo, just beyond the wooden guard rail, reads "Danger."

Route 1 was rerouted in the 1940s to avoid the danger.

Posted by Ellen

The Washington Post Online posted this photo the other day, which features our own Ted Stein (in cammy) organizing the Occupy D.C.'s very first OccuPie feast. Supporters contributed 15 home-baked pies, which, when sliced very, very, very thin, fed the multitude. Occupy D.C. was that day occupying the vacant building in the background here, which was once a homeless shelter and later Franklin School. Soon after OccuPie, however, the occupiers were evicted and had to regroup out of doors.

Posted by Ellen

He had driven a thousand miles for the chance to set up his scope at Deception Pass, on Puget Sound about an hour north of Seattle. But the notebook in his left hand received no new entries; he saw birds, to be sure, but he'd seen them all before. The only thing he saw that day of even mild ornithological interest was the long line of black dots way out at sea–they were grebes, he told us, a very common waterbird, but a kind that didn't usually flock together so massively; there were hundreds of grebes out there on the tide, he estimated, bobbing and diving, more by far than he'd ever seen in one place before.

The Audubon Society reports that grebes are pretty standard inhabitants of Deception Pass and thereabouts, along with mergansers, cormorants, black oystercatchers, alcids, and common and Pacific loons. But the big ornithological draw, especially in the wintertime, is the red-throated loon. Maybe this birdwatcher will schedule another trip when the weather is a whole lot worse.