Thursday, July 31, 2008

The bumper sticker of wrath

A chilling tale of anger and political hatred in Lacey, Washington:

My sister and I were stuck in traffic there on our way up to a concert in Seattle.

We were in a left-turn lane, and noticed an elderly man -- at least 75 years old -- in the lane to our right. He seemed to be muttering and trying to communicate with us somehow.

We thought he might want to get into our lane, or perhaps needed directions. So we pulled up and from the passenger side, I opened my window and was about to say "Sir, do you need any directions or anything?"

I didn't even have time to let a word slip out: he yelled right at me "OBAMA SUCKS AND SO DO YOU!"

Usually quick-tongued, I was tongue-tied. This was not at all what I had expected for our good intentions.

My sister yelped out a not-so-brilliant "Well, you suck too!" - -which we later agreed could have been a better-turned phrase. But who was I to say, having remained mute through the entire incident?

To close the little exchange, the geezer yelled "FUCK OFF!" at us and drove away.

Monday, July 28, 2008

This is where I belong

My sister and I went to a great concert on July 19th: Ray Davies at the Showbox in Seattle.

I used to really be part of the Kinks Kult and had seen the band plenty of times in the 70s and 80s, but I didn't know if I would cross Ray's path again.

The show was absolutely fantastic. I won't bore you with the details -- I've got the Kinks Preservation Society mailing list to do that -- but I can tell you the concert sure made me want to get back in the Kinks/Ray Davies fan line.

And I've just been thinking that Waterloo Sunset may be my favorite song ever.

Here's wishing you the bluest skies, Ray. I've missed you.

Discover The Kinks!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Having fun with Evernote

In my endless quest to organize my virtual life, I ran into a cool site called Evernote.

I haven't completely explored it yet, but it seems to be a little like a personal -- which I never use because I can never remember where the dots are in the address -- but with a visual aspect.

I'm getting notebooks going on the interesting Internet stuff I'm finding this summer, and it seems like this platform might be just what I'm looking for.

How do you organize your Web finds?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Americana 2: Roll on, Columbia roll on

(The Columbia River between Vantage and George, Washington)

Yes, there is a town called George, Washington. And the tiny town before it on the usual trip from Olympia to Spokane is aptly named Vantage, because it enjoys a view similar to the one above.

When I was a child, my family often stopped at Vantage on the way over to Spokane, where my paternal grandmother lived. There was an A&W hamburger joint perched over the river: arguably the best view from a fast-food restaurant in Washington State at the time, or ever.

I remember looking across the Columbia at a road that descended directly into the river. My father explained that that was where Vantage used to be, but that the town had been sacrificed to the construction of a dam -- the Grand Coulee? -- which somehow brought the water level up and put the town underwater. I knew that this was all planned and that it wasn't like a real flood, but the story still horrified me and I loved imagining that the remains of the town could be found intact underwater.

On last year's road trip from Olympia to Fort Collins, Colorado, it was interesting to see my French husband and daughters -- who had never been "East of the mountains" -- react to the drastic change in scenery once we got out of the somewhat wooded Ellensburg area.

"How can this be the same state?" they asked. "How can this still be my state?" I wondered.

Washington is often called "The Evergreen State," but obviously not all parts of the state were taken into consideration when choosing the nickname.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Americana 1

An over-sized, slightly tattered American flag flies over a pancake house in Ellensburg,Washington

Since I've lived in a foreign country for almost two decades, people often ask me if I "still feel American." Of course I do, but I realize that my vision of the USA is constricted by the geographical limits of my visits here: mainly Olympia, with an occasional hop up to Seattle or down to Portland.

So for me, it's the Pacific Northwest all the way, every time.

A friend recently told me he thought Pacific Northwesterners took themselves "way too seriously." Is that the case? If so, does it explain why I still feel so at home here? And why so many bloggers I relate to seem to have a PNW connection?

Last summer I did break out of my green cocoon and took a road trip to Colorado with my family. As soon as I crossed the Cascades and got "east of the mountains," I knew I was in a different world.

A pancake house was our first stop on a short but revealing journey that reminded me to think beyond Puget Sound when I am asked about the USA.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Blog status

After promises of "blogging from And So Forth" over the summer, I am finding myself with strangely little to say. But I do want to signal my return to the blogosphere after varying degrees of absence from my three blogs.

I suppose I can start with the summer status of each publication:

La France Profonde: After thinking about taking a summer break from this one, I have reconsidered and will be writing some postlets from time to time.

Cuisine Quotidienne: Officially on vacation until September, with a possible redesign in the works.

This blog: Timidly tiptoeing into uncharted territory...