Reviving my LJ posts, after reviewing 5 yrs worth....

Those posts really faded out toward the end -- just about the time I started using Facebook. I missed the longer format, but there were just so many hours in a day, just so many online sites I was willing to spend time on. And then I started getting spam on LJ, which turned me off on the site.

But, looking over all these old LJ posts, remembering so much that I had forgotten about, I'm going to try it again. Cross-site sharing has gotten so much easier -- I see others who are linking LJ to FB -- and the spam seems to have dropped off, too.

Of course, saying that I'm going to start posting again the day before my second cataract surgery is somewhat counter-productive. If the first procedure is any measure, it'll be a number of days before I'm up to staring at a monitor again. But, what the hell. At least when things settle down, I'll have a lot to talk about!

"Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites Like Twitter" -- NYTimes, 2/21/11

"Former bloggers said they were too busy to write lengthy posts and were uninspired by a lack of readers. Others said they had no interest in creating a blog because social networking did a good enough job keeping them in touch with friends and family."

It's not the same. I understand that it takes time to keep up a blog -- lord knows, I've been derelict over the last year, mostly because I've been on Facebook a lot -- but it is not the same.

A week or so ago, I spent a few hours going through old letter files for some references to send off to a University collection of printed (gasp) fanzines. Pretty soon, I slowed down as I found myself rereading long and detailed letters from friends. Old days came back to mind and lots of old feelings. Instead of a "hello/here's what I'm doing just now" post, the letters were part of a conversation and, however much I enjoy being in daily contact with friends,  posts and links on Facebook are not the same. And nowhere as satisfying.

Yes, Facebook lets you touch another person, but a touch is nothing like an embrace. Letters embrace you, take you away for more than the time it takes to register a name, an action, or to click on an offered link. Theoretically, FB should compliment longer conversations, but it doesn't. Instead, it substitutes a passing connection for a deeper exchange. Yes, sometimes letters were little more than acknowledgments that another person was thinking of you and happy enough to find herself doing so to take the time to write a few lines, address an envelope and get the letter in the mail. But, more often than not, letters were a long look into your friends' lives. Some of those letters in the downstairs office were 5, 7, even 10 pages long -- typed!

And I found myself missing the deeper connection. Along with the letters, I also pulled out some emails that had been printed as reference. That's all they were, too: reference, much like a FB link. I know that I've had wonderful email exchanges with people, but eventually those emails got buried in the files, or even lost because of changes in technology or ISPs. Paper was easy to file in boxes that waited patiently for me to come downstairs on a rainy afternoon and discover their contents.

I had intended to toss most of those letters, but now I hesitate. I'll probably never really recover the emails I enjoyed unless I go back to printing them out, but I'll have these letters to read over someone afternoon years from now. They'll be easy to find and easy to pull out to read even if the internet's down.  It makes for a more crowded office, but, hey, it's my home office and I'll just put my feet up on the boxes!

Stormy Valentine's Day

Fortunately, we celebrated on Sunday...   Our 32nd Valentine's Day. Amazing.

Other people, though, had a wild night, with trees falling across the interstate (3 lanes), landslides, power out in lots of places.

We were home, safe and warm; dry, too. Partly to avoid the crowds, party because we didn't call in a reservation early enough elsewhere, partly because I've wanted to try this place for a long time, we went to Poppy, the restaurant run by Jerry Traunfeld, who used to be the chef at the wonderful Herbfarm restaurant.

The food is offered in groups of small plates called "thali" -- sort of a bento box, only using a tray. You can get an order of ten items or 7 items, for meat-eaters and for vegetarians. The presentation is lovely, the quality of the food is fantastic, and the servings are just the right size.

It was kinda nice, too, having dinner at a restaurant that looks out over our old stomping grounds, the intersection at Broadway and Roy, just up the hill from our 1st apartment together. The 76 gas station is long gone, replaced by a multi-use, 4-story brick building, but it's still Broadway and still lively,  Back in 1976, I moved to Capitol Hill for may reasons, but a big one was the realization that I could grow into old age in this neighborhood and still fit in with the feel of the place. Broadway was still pretty hippy back then, with the hip places cheek-by-jowl with the furniture shops, the cobblers, the hardware store that marked Capitol Hill as one of the original in-city family neighborhoods. Nowadays, those old shops are gone and the street is simply hip, with lots of restaurants and a growing number of smaller living spaces. But, it's still an accepting place, the heart of Seattle's gay community, the home of avant-garde theater, lots of start-up businesses with young owners.

Now we live in north Capitol Hill, that is, a mile and a quarter north of the Broadway business district, but Broadway (and 15th, 4 blocks to the east) are our neighborhood shopping and visiting areas. We're one of the "old homes" on the street, having bought our home in 1982, when half the street at least was still rentals. Now, the only rental left was built to be one, a 4-plex where, I'm told, an astronaut once lived while he was taking some courses at the University of Washington.

Here's to living here for another 20 years at least....and 20 more Valentine's Day dinners at local restaurants!

Yummy day.

We made honest risotto today: we used left-overs and what was in the fridge to throw it together.

After Pilates this morning, the weather got even worse, with the cold drizzle becoming cold rain. So, no walk at Green Lake. Instead I did morning computer work and settled in to Make Dinner. Jamala was due at 5 p.m. to look over the books we were planning to sell, so the opportunity to feed her as well was too good to resist.

Risotto. A strawberry pie. Yes!

We had asparagus in the fridge, and some country bacon. Left-over sauteed mushrooms from the Red Cliff DVD-viewing dinner Monday. Chicken broth made from the squab bones. Rosemary from the yard and a slab of grana padano cheese in the back of the fridge. Onion. Chardonnay from the stash of pony bottles I found on sale a year or so ago. Less than an hour of prep, another hour of actual cooking, and -- Ta Da!  Bacon, Asparagus, Rosemary, Mushroom Risotto.

While prepping the risotto, the pie got put together. I had a box of strawberries from Costco; I had gotten into it for breakfast, but being a Costco box, I had plenty left over. Susan cut up the remaining berries while I worked in the kitchen; we ended up with 6+ cups, exactly what I needed. I had a pie crust in the freezer, so that was easy. I'd have to run out for whipping cream, but I figured I had 45 minutes or so to get than done once the berries were cooked.

It's amazing out just water, corn starch, sugar, salt and strawberries come together to make a glorious ruby-colored pie filling. I grew up with this pie and hope to make it for many Junes to come.

And the timing worked today. We sat down to eat at 5, just  as planned. Big pasta plates of risotto on beds of red leaf lettuce, with Martinelli Lemonade to drink, followed by a break to look at books. Susan and Jamala started talking about the craft of writing, so I slipped into the kitchen to whip up the cream and dress the pie. We each had two pieces (urp).

Now, the kitchen is pretty clean and the tummy is happy.

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and now the sun's out again...

....gotta grab the time between rain showers when they occur this year.

(Seattle has not yet reached 75 deg F this year! A new record, unfortunately.)

So, posting must be put aside to get at those garden chores. 

North to Alaska, Trip Report

After nearly 20 years of talking about taking a trip up the SE Alaska’s Inside Passage, we finally made our cruise this May, a 30th Anniversary present to ourselves. Taking a HUGE cruise ship wasn’t actually part of that long, drawn-out wish, but the opportunity presented itself and we succumbed.
For a full website trip report, with pictures:

Getting Ready, Embarkation, Ship Specs 

First Impressions

Days 2 & 3, at Sea: Glaciers

Day 4, Scagway: Train Ride

Day 5: Zip-Lining! More Glaciers! 

Day 6: Ketchikan

Day 7:  At Sea, Victoria, Coming Home

Our (Proof of) Embarkation Picture.

A Trip Summary

We had a good time. 

For a trip that we decided upon instantly last fall — with all the possibilities to act in haste and regret at leisure — the experience went wonderfully well. We lucked out with the weather, with a mid-ship room (and balcony big enough for 2 chairs and a small table!), and with our amiable, assigned dining table companions; we had fun and interesting daily excursions. We saw whales and dolphins and seals, and Dawes Glacier up close enough to listen to it groan and boom. Susan also visited the Mendenhall Glacier and more whales; I took a zip-line adventure trip and managed to scare myself a bit.

I even rather enjoyed falling asleep to the rocking of the ship, although Susan had her reservations on that score.

The cruise was proof that hanging over the balcony of your room, watching the fog and the mountains and the wake, is fun; even just reading on the balcony while all the visuals stream by is cool. We did not go to the shows, nor did we buy Watches! Liquor! Gold(ish) necklaces!, but Susan did play bingo one day and we did learn how to make Carnival towel animals. Although I took pictures, I didn’t max out the chip. Although Susan’s fancy new Canon binoculars were used constantly, they were not dropped into any waters.

We pampered ourselves. We did not overeat, but neither did we avoid indulgences. If I had been able to drink most of the daily ship Boat Drinks (Damn popularity of oranges with alcohol), I certainly would have (get the souvenir glass the first day, refill it afterwards for $2 off each drink). Susan did, and I managed a mojito or three, and lots of good hot chocolate.

We did buy jewelry, but not on ship and not tanzanite or diamonds or “Alaska northern lights.” I did buy two photos taken by ship photogs, but we did not pose for any of the many and oft-offered Make-a-Memory scenes.

So far, the souvenirs we bought for friends have not embarrassed us.

(That website address for a full report, with many pictures, on is:
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Sunshine at last

Well, sunshine yesterday at least. And it was very, very nice.

I finished some front yard work at the Latona garden, which was satisfying, and enjoyed gazing at the peonies and poppies in our backyard.

The rain came back today, although there was enough of a break to let me walk down to the neighborhood farmer's market and home again before the drizzle returned.  I bought mushrooms, local hot house tomatoes, poblano and jalepano pepper plants for the garden, and some kombusha tea which I actually liked.

I even had time to scoop up some chips from a newly ground-out stump of a neighborhood cherry tree. The lovely tree was cut down in its prime by the home owner and his realtor, neither of whom (apparently) could figure out how to take a flattering picture of the house with the cherry tree growing on the parking strip. So they whacked it. Gnash! Growl! However, the tree will live on in our yard, nourishing the new plantings by the front yard pond. A neighbor to the poor tree's house will also take the chips and give them space close to home in her garden.

Tonight, I (finally) managed to move my web page files to the Comcast server. I'm working on the updates now and will put the complete Alaska trip report on the website. Watch for the Trip Summary showing up here first, though!
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Testing, testing

Well! I am indeed still aware of Live Journal. 

Life got a bit exciting last October with the Japan trip, Susan deciding to retire early, lots of gardening to do....nothing life-jarring serious, but enough to throw me off track.  

Now we've had our March trip to Lake Quinalut -- lots of sun, very starry nights -- and are currently finishing up our trip report from a May cruise we took up the Inside Passage of Alaska.

I'll be posting that report soon. Honest. I can see Susan at her machine, working on the edits/corrections/additions. 

Pretty camillias on our tree this spring.

A busy late summer and early fall, ending in a trip to Japan!

Gad, it was August last time I posted.

Part of the reason is Facebook and my determination not add to my daily computer time. The rest of the reason is a vast amount of gardening to get done, both here on Federal and at the Latona site, combined with nervous preparations for the trip to Japan.

But -- we're back now, and although  much end-of-year garden work remains, Steve and I brought back many pictures and he kept many pages of notes. A Japan Trip Report will indeed appear! Soon! I promise!
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