Janet's thread

A weblog, mostly about knitting but other topics appear

The Slender Thread July 21, 2011

Filed under: Films,Friendship,Memories,Move to Seattle,Seattle — Janet @ 9:48 pm

From that title you might think I was going to get back to doing a blog entry about knitting or spinning or even sewing.  But no I’m still going to be off-topic as far as the original intention of this blog is concerned.  The Slender Thread is an old black and white film starring Sidney Poitier and Anne Bancroft.  It was made in 1965, 3 years after the Space Needle was built in 1962.  The interest for me in viewing this film was that it was filmed in several what are now familiar locations – houses not far from where we are now living, the church we are attending, Golden Gardens which is near us, etc.  But, as I said, the film was made 50 years ago.  The viewing last night was for a small audience, one of whom exclaimed “that’s the house!!”  – there was some sort of family connection, her parents or grandparents lived there.  Not only did she recognize the house but she also recognized many of the people in the congregation in the scene taken in the church.  And the preacher was the one who preceeded the current preachers.  It was all very interesting.  And the opening scene of Anne Bancroft driving tensely on the fast moving freeway system could have been of me trying to drive on these freeways today.  Back in 1959-60 when I lived in Seattle we did not have this elaborate fast moving big freeway scene.  The traffic as it was then and the road system did not seem so daunting.  And of course in younger years fast moving traffic was easier to handle than it is now.

What was of further interest about going to this film was that the showing was in The Swedish Cultural Center, 1920 Dexter Ave. N   My first job was with Puget Planners, a small urban planning and consulting firm, headed by John Nordmark and located in a house on Dexter.  The date on the Swedish Cultural Center building was 1960 – was that building being built when I was working in that house across the street??  I don’t remember – what I do remember is that from my desk I had a lovely view of Mt. Rainier.  That was enough to impress any Easterner like myself.

Yesterday was quite the day for looking over the years.  In 1959-60 I lived on 28th Avenue West in the Magnolia section of Seattle.  Yesterday I went searching for the house where I used to live.  I lived across from the elementary school so the house would have been near the corner of Smith and 28th.  I can picture the small 2 bedroom house with a slight step up and a longish walk to the front door.  Yesterday I couldn’t find the  house as I remembered it.  Possibly the foliage has grown and hidden it now.  I am asking for help in finding the address.  My sister tells me she has an old address book where she might have a record of that address – I hope she finds it.  The house was owned by a retired judge and his wife – he had been a judge at the Nuremberg trials following World War II.  Three of us shared the house.  One of my housemates is still here in Seattle and she can’t remember what our address was either.

Another item for yesterday – July 20 – it was the anniversary of my brother’s birth July 20, 1924.  We always think of him especially on that date and miss him sorely.  He passed away in 1992.

More memories for July 20 – I had a phone call from my friend Rachel in Colorado – Rachel who back in 1959 was teaching elementary school here in West Seattle and whom I came to visit and ended up staying here myself.   Now here we are in 2011 and Rachel is in Colorado – she phoned to ask if I could remember where I was 48 years ago – yes I said, Happy Anniversary.  48 years ago on July 20, 1963 our friend Lucy and I were the bridesmaids at Rachel and Jim’s wedding in Gardner Massachusetts.  Memories!!  Rachel, Lucy, and I were friends from Middlebury College days 1954-58.  (How Rachel and Jim met is yet another story.)

Rachel and Jim came to visit back in May.  Pictured are Ian, Rachel, Mary Ann (my housemate in Magnolia) and Jim


Thinking of Our Dublin Cat Slinki January 2, 2011

Filed under: Cats,Move to Seattle — Janet @ 3:10 am

We were sad to leave our cat Slinki behind when we moved from Dublin to Seattle but we felt that we were leaving him in good hands – well looked after by cat-loving  neighbours and his pal Charlie to play with.  We have had good news recently from friends and neighbours that Slinki is indeed alive and well and enjoying still being in his familiar territory.  This was after an initial period of mewing outside our recently vacated home for a couple of weeks after we departed.  All he had to do was go around the corner to his new home but I guess he was slow to adjust.  By this time maybe he has forgotten us but we still think of him often and are glad that he is doing well in his move back to his original environs.  Our last sighting of him in Dublin was when we were scrambling to get ourselves and our luggage into the taxi at 7 a.m. and at the same time we were trying to keep him from getting back into the house.  I felt terrible shooing him away.

In our unpacking today I came across this splendid purchase which I made some years ago in London.

And on my walk this afternoon on this bright sunny New Year’s Day 2011, I found 2 cats just basking in the rays.  The black cat is more sheltered in the archway to the upper left          the black and white cat is getting the full benefit of this early afternoon sunshine.  I wonder if they are secretly thinking bah and humbug to the racoons.

Maybe 2011 will see us getting a cat to be with us here in our home in Seattle.


I Can’t Believe It December 28, 2010

Filed under: Move to Seattle,Moving house — Janet @ 7:55 pm

Yes, our 2nd, and final, shipment was unloaded this morning. 

  more boxes to come but here are the first few.

Now, let the unpacking begin.


Our Second Shipment Is Getting Closer December 23, 2010

Filed under: Move to Seattle — Janet @ 10:18 pm

Our 2nd shipment from Dublin left our Dublin house near the end of August.   Given that it was a relatively small shipment, we were sharing a container.  We were told that it could take 6-8 weeks, maybe 10 weeks to get to our door here in Seattle.  Hmm.  o.k.  It is now how many weeks??  Going on 18!!  But….I was told this morning  by the shipping agent in Los Angeles – remember, the shared container eventually left England on the Wehr Wesser, we think, and was due to reach the West Coast of America at some point.    I followed the progress of the Wehr Wesser on a shipping tracking service – when the Wehr Wesser got through the Panama Canal I was most excited.  But then to my dismay it turned South, heading for Ecuador;  not North as I had expected, heading for Los Angeles.  Nevertheless, I was informed that the WW was due in Los Angeles around November 20th and I duly sent the required documentation.   I abandoned the internet tracking service for the WW and was just ready to put my faith in the agent in Los Angeles.   There was a delay in customs but eventually our belongings were then enroute to the Seattle area, how I do not know but I assume by truck/lorry.  Now the latest is that our belongings have actually reached Seattle and they are now in a warehouse somewhere, nearby?.  The warehouse and delivery people have gone off for the holiday, it being now December 23rd.    But, first thing, Monday morning after Christmas, we can hope for some action. 

So, where are we going to put all these things when they finally arrive?  That is the next burning question.  Our first shipment is still not completely unpacked and the house is quite full.


Strange Reading Habits December 18, 2010

Filed under: Books,Knitting,Move to Seattle,Reading,Seasons — Janet @ 11:06 pm

My reading tastes are rather eclectic.  My favourite books are history based, memoirs and autobiographies, with some geographical flavour.  But I deviate a lot from that base line, if you could call it that.  Anyhow, here are several of my latest reads.  I justify including this information on my so-called knitting blog (by mistake I wrote clog) by trying to knit when I read.  The result is less of each because the book I’m trying to read won’t stay open and sometimes I have to keep checking on the knitting.

  Sigrid Unset’s book Return to the Future.  Quite a fascinating book, written about her escape from Norway after the German invasion of 1940.  She was age 58, one of her sons had “fallen”, her younger son was underage but in the military.  She  travelled to Northern Norway, across to Sweden and to Stockholm, by plane to Moscow, then across Russia to Vladavostock.  On to Japan, then to the U.S. In 1942, when this was first published, the rest of the War years still lay ahead.   After the War she returned to Norway and died in 1949.      Sigrid Unset, 1928, photo from Wikipedia

  Sigrid Unset, as a young woman – photo from Wikipedia

  Penguin Classic Covers for the Kristin Lavranstatter Trilogy

  Another Penguin Classic – Hell’s Angels, an account by Hunter Thompson.  Not a book I thought I would like but Hunter Thompson is quite famous and a good writer.  And his subject matter here turned out to be more interesting than I had anticipated, particularly as the Hell’s Angels were roaring around Berkeley in the mid-1960’s at the time when I was there.

  And another excellent John McPhee book.  John McPhee makes geology fascinating.  It’s not just about California.  It’s really about the whole new branch of geology in the study of plate tectonics. 

Now for an update on the approach to the Solstice.  Today the morning was darker altogether here in Seattle and the brightening in the sky seemed more normal nearer to 9 o’clock – but that wasn’t due to any cataclysmic geographical shift – it was just a rainy morning.  The official sunrise and sunset times according to this website were the following:  For Seattle – sunrise 7:54  and sunset 4:18       hours of daylight  8 hrs. 26 min

For Dublin  –   sunrise  8:33 and sunset 4:07    hours of daylight   7 hrs  34 min


A Private Rant Goes Public December 10, 2010

Filed under: Family,Move to Seattle,Moving house,Travel — Janet @ 5:58 am

People keep asking us how we are doing, settling in to life in America, and more specifically life in Seattle.  Various impressions are swirling around in my head.  And my head is different from Ian’s, obviously.   So here we go – a few thoughts and impressions.

I/we have been particularly struck by the wide disparity of incomes here in the Ballard area (approx. 5 miles from the downtown part of Seattle), hence a close suburb.  I grew up in Belmont Mass., approximately the same distance from the center of Boston, and our home in Dundrum was approximately the same distance from the centre of Dublin.  One of the charms of Ballard is the great variety of housing and the owners or renters approach to gardening.  But what we can’t get used to is the amount of vagrancy, particularly along Market Street.  There are people who are decidedly disreputable looking.  Some either very mentally disturbed, or high on drugs, or the worse for wear from alcohol – this during daylight hours when there are young mothers and children and older people going about their normal business.  Sometimes these people gather near the library and get verbally violent with each other, for all to hear.  There are homeless people on many of the street corners – but they at least are participating in a self-help programme by selling a newspaper called Real Choice.  They get the newspaper for 35 cents, sell it for a dollar, and keep the balance. 

It seems as if everywhere I turn, there is mention of a Food Bank.  The Ballard Food Bank, the Greenwood Food Bank, and on, representing different parts of Seattle.  At the many concerts at this time of year, donations are requested for the Food Bank.  I have been to church a few times – that church (Ballard Methodist) has quite an outreach program – again the Food Bank, aid to people in prison, aid to those in need within the parish, maybe a few other causes.   In general I have been very pleased with the services in that church….. but last Sunday the minister gave a sermon which I felt was quite political.  He got quite carried away and was preaching as if everything in the U.S. had gone to the dogs – millions of homeless, corruption everywhere – the bankers, the major political parties, the government, you name it.  He was practically preaching revolution.  That wasn’t for me.  I’m going to try the Lutherans next week.

The other day I talked with a woman who was knitting a scarf and hoping to finish it in time to give it to the Queen Anne Helpline – a nice warm handknit scarf for someone in time for Christmas.  She explained that through that particular helpline the scarf should end up in the hands of a person who really needed it and would value it.  They have a screening programme for their applicants/recipients.  Well…..What is the state of this country, this part of the country, we have moved to?  Is this really America in the year 2010?  A recession yes, but is this 1930?  Why are Americans serving in the Peace Corps overseas when there is so much distress right here at home.

In church, a man announced that he was sleeping in a doorway of a bank.  It was getting colder and colder at night.  He was praying for a van where he could get warm at night.  Now he is selling Christmas trees and hopes we’ll buy from him.  I wonder where?  If we were going to get a tree, I would enquire.

Today in the University District we were among the busy throng walking along University Avenue.  Well, many is the time I have seen homeless people in the U District and nearly tripped over people sleeping in doorways.  But today, a perfectly ordinary young man approached us and asked for money, anything for a little help.  I felt so so sad at this.

Ian went downtown a couple of days ago – not a happy experience – and it was because of all the panhandlers.  And not improved by encountering big burly armed policemen standing in pairs at each street corner.  Sounded to me like 1984.

I am almost finished reading Richard Bachman’s (aka Stephen King’s) book The Running Man, published in 1982.  It many ways it seems prophetic for the year 2010 where we find ourselves today.

I guess what I”m trying to say is that here in Ballard the needy seem to right here among us, in fact all around us.  In Bangladesh, I expect people to be begging, I don’t expect that to be happening so blatantly here.   All the above and then the seemingly constant phone calls soliciting money for worthy causes – the Police, the Firemen, Breast Cancer research, etc. etc.  And on Public Television they have 10 or 15 minute slots where they ask for support.  It’s this constant asking for money that is getting a bit annoying.

Now I’ll turn to lighting the candles and tell you about all the things we love about Seattle – but I’ll save that for another post.

  these 2 photos were taken in mid-afternoon along Market Street, 2 police cars parked in the middle of the road and red lights flashing, and 3 policemen surrounding a man on the far side

  The Running Man – Richard Bachman, aka Stephen King

  Woman With a Red Cloak, watercolour painting by Peter Le Lievre (1812-98) in the Guernsey Museum & Art Gallery.  I celebrated my 74th birthday earlier this week.  Has my birthday made me feel grumpy??


Misinformation November 21, 2010

Filed under: Move to Seattle — Janet @ 2:35 am

Am I tracking the wrong ship?  Is the Wehr Weser now headed further south along the coast of South America?  Heading for Callao??  Or is it about to dock in Los Angeles and our container is going to be unloaded?  Conflicting information.  I have heard from the shipping agents in Los Angeles that the arrival of the Wehr Weser is imminent.  But when I look on the internet I find the Wehr Weser is heading south rather than north.  Which to believe?  Meanwhile I will try to clear our garage and hope for delivery of our numerous boxes, last seen when they were carried out of our rental home in Dublin on August 2_.


Progress Report November 2, 2010

Filed under: Move to Seattle,Ships — Janet @ 4:15 pm

The Wehr Weser, the ship carrying the container that has the remainder of our belongings, is now approaching Port of Spain in Trinidad.  This is the link I used to find its position.  Don’t be put off by the information in Greek.

 The Wehr Weser

Although we are still in a state of upheaval and chaos trying to unpack and sort out all the items that were in our first shipment, we are still eagerly awaiting the arrival here in Seattle of the second shipment.  The Wehr Weser has made it across the Atlantic – where to next?  The Panama Canal?


Our Ship Is On Its Way October 27, 2010

Filed under: Move to Seattle,Travel — Janet @ 2:30 am

We’ve just received a notice that the ship containing our second lot of belongings from Dublin is now finally on its way.  It’s the Wehr Wesser and at the moment it’s moving west out of the English Channel.

Now I can track its progress.  It is estimated to reach Los Angeles on November 20.  Then I assume that the container, or our share of the container, will be put on a train and transported to Seattle.  Watch this space or look it up on a tracking device and track its progress.  That’s what I’ll be doing.


Mayhem at the Library August 30, 2010

Filed under: Librarians,Libraries,Library resources,Move to Seattle — Janet @ 4:44 pm

Mayhem at the library……that’s an exaggeration but it was very busy yesterday (Sunday) at the Seattle Public Library in Ballard, and no doubt elsewhere in Seattle.  Because of budget cuts, the libraries are closing for a week.  This is the second year that this has happened and worse is forecast for 2011.  The major saving is in salaries paid, which really means salaries not paid to the staff.  At least they keep their jobs and have a week off, but I would suspect that the no-pay aspect is not so welcome.  Anyhow, we rushed down to the library yesterday for a last minute return and collection and the library was very busy with other patrons doing likewise.

  Ballard Branch of the Seattle Public Library

We arrived in Seattle in good order on Saturday evening.  Our trans-Atlantic, trans-continental trip was fine.  A 7 hour flight from Dublin to Chicago, a brief pause to catch our breath and pass through the all-important hurdle of immigration.  We were almost through immigration when a number of other people arrived, Caucasian American with babies who appeared to be African – they took priority so we had to sit for a little while as the man processed their forms. It didn’t take long but we wondered why we were being by-passed when we had arrived first.  I later found out that these people had all come on the same Lufthansa flight from Ethiopia and the babies had been in an orphanage in Awassa in southern part of that country.  Orphans get priority over senior citizens.  We didn’t really mind – we were just puzzled.   There was much happiness as each family received the final stamps on the babies’ documentation. Particularly for the family whose baby had been quite sick on the flight.   We were equally happy when Ian received the final stamp on his passport.  Welcome to America.  This process made me think of other families in the past arriving at Ellis Island in New York after being at sea for many weeks.  What a change.