A Short Trip to the Kitsap Peninsula

Our holiday travels this year consisted of a 2-day trip to the coast of Western Washington, specifically, the Kitsap Peninsula.

Kitsap Pen
The Kitsap Peninsula, Washington

There was a reason for this trip other than needing a getaway after a very busy year. Bob’s brother Jack, planning ahead for retirement, bought a parcel of land outside of Belfair, on the Hood Canal. He’d been there in nicer weather and wanted to see it in the winter. When he asked us if we wanted to tag along on a short trip, of course we said yes! I love the Pacific Northwest, and have my own daydreams of settling in that part of the country. So we packed our carry-on bags and headed out, flying in to Seattle.

Diva
Seattle, you’ve got my number.

The rental 4-wheel drive SUV (I hate SUVs but in this case it seemed prudent), skillfully piloted by Bob, got us out of Seattle and over to the peninsula, where it was snowing! I grew up mostly in Georgia and California, so any amount of snow strikes me as wondrous and beautiful. And cold and wet, best viewed from indoors or on Christmas cards.

snow pan

snow person
Of course I had to build a snow person!

This is an area with a much larger population in the summer; in the winter off-season it is very quiet. Which is fine with me! But it would be fun to spend some time here in the summer too.

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The living room windows will face the canal view, thataway.
footprints
I was hoping for animal tracks, but all I saw were my own.

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The route for the next day: morning in Poulsbo, then to Bainbridge Island, and finally the ferry back to Seattle for a night in the city.

Poulsbo is a charming town on Liberty Bay. Its historic downtown, referred to as Little Norway, is popular with summer tourists. On the way in, make sure and stop to see the 12-foot tall Norseman who stands at the intersection that leads into town.

Norseman
Velkommen

First things first (well, second; seeing the Norseman was first), the search for coffee. I was not dissappointed. Viking Brew to the rescue!

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And it tastes so good!

A very welcoming town, Poulsbo, and quite proud of it’s Norwegian heritage.

velkommen

 

ship mural

 

Thor
The hammer part would scare me if I were interested in getting a tattoo. Which I am not.

Poulsbo 1885

And there is the beautiful view of the bay and a quite large marina.

Poulsbo pan
Winter on Liberty Bay at Poulsbo.
JJs Fish House
This guy outside of J.J.’s Fish House did nothing to change my mind about being vegan!

Next up, Bainbridge Island, a place I’ve wanted to see for a while. Winslow Way seemed to be the main drag and center of all things commercial.

Bainbridge sign

I’m not sure what the deal with frogs is, but like Chicago has its cows, San Francisco has its hearts, and Atlanta has its peaches, Bainbridge Island has its frogs.

I’m honestly not much of a shopper, but I can say shopping opportunities abound! We did make our way into a travel store, which included a great book section. I had no idea you could get Dr. Seuss in French. What happens with the anapestic tetrameter in which he wrote when translated?

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Smart kids on Bainbridge Island!

We also made our way into one of the many art galleries, Roby King Galleries, to look at their show of contemporary works based on Alice in Wonderland in honor of its 150th anniversary. Some fun, some weird, some a little scary.

Alice
Alice, by Helene Wilder

The highlight was a visit to the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, a really beautiful space with several well-curated exhibitions on view.

Bainbridge Art

The first exhibition you enter, on the ground level, is Steven Maslach: New Light. Maslach does amazing things with glass and color. The museum space, with its light, open spaces, makes a good backdrop for his work.

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Steven Maslach, Ladder on Fire, 2014, hot cast glass with color filters, wood, steel base
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Steven Maslach, Kitsap Longboat, 2006, life cast hands, hot cast glass, steel base

I was particularly struck by the display of his casting jacket and the burned arm; I am in awe of people who work with the heat and fire of glass.

Also on the ground floor is Nancy Thorne Chambers: A Story Place, a whimisical ceramic installation that I found to be quite lovely and nostalgia-provoking. I was transported back to a childhood of reading books like The Wind in the Willows and my lifelong love of books and animals.

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Moving upstairs, the group exhibition Thought Patterns features regional artists working in an array of media but with a commonality of working in patterns and repetition.

museum general view

Some of my favorites:

waterfall
Jane Sekiguchi, 2014, Waterfall, scroll cut engineered wood, enamel
cantinas panel label
Julia Haack, Cantiñas Panel, 2014, latex paint and salvaged wood
mojave mattress
Julia Haack, Mojave Mattress, 2005, fabric over wood and metal
wilting
Peggy Smith-Venturi, Wilting, 2012, artist’s book

The most beautiful exhibition, to my eye, is the gallery of artist’s books. As an art form, these can be difficult to display and interpret for an audience. They can best be understood up close and personal (i.e., by handling) but are too fragile and vulnerable to allow this kind of contact. I think the specially fitted gallery allows for close viewing, safe exhibition, and a quiet, reflective space befitting this kind of collection. The particular exhibition on this visit: Artist’s Books: Chapter 6: Regarding nature…or disregarding it (Collection of Cynthia Sears).

The introductory wall includes this painting that a book-loving girl can’t bypass.

girl with raised hands
Jeff Weekley, Girl with Raised Hands, oil on cradled wood panel

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And as at all well-run museums, please exit through the gift shop!

yoga elephants
How could I resist the Yoga Elephants???

There is a children’s museum next door that looks quite fun, but no time to stop other than for a bit of silliness.

silliness

Time for the ferry to Seattle.

seattle from the ferry
The approach to Seattle from Bainbridge Island.

We made it to the University District, but given that it’s winter break, not a lot was happening there. But the Hotel Deca was quite nice.

 

For dinner, we headed over to the Wallingford neighborhood, which reminded me a little of the East Bay with its Craftsman Homes. Through the guidance of Open Table, Bob found the restaurant Tilth, one of the restaurants of executive chef and James Beard award winner Maria Hines.

tilth sign
Tilth, New American cuisine, 1411 N. 45th Street, Seattle.

I don’t drink, but Bob was intrigued by the craft cocktail menu. I had a sarsparilla soda, which I didn’t know was a thing outside of cowboy movies. Bob’s not a vegan; he said the fish dishes were excellent.

tilth hot toddy

I was pleased to see a vegan tasting menu. That’s not easy to find! I had the vegan cassoulet; it was delicious, smoky and mushroomy. And for dessert we shared the vegan cashew “cheesecake” with cranberry compote and pomegranate.

 

All good things must come to an end (must they, really?), so we were up early the next morning to get to the Seattle airport and home. I had no idea it got so cold in Seattle!

seattle 7am
The University District of Seattle at 7 a.m. in late December.
seattle frost
What is this frost on the windshield business?
airport flying fish
Follow the flying fish to your gate at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

And now we are home, and it’s 2016. How did that happen? Happy New Year, everyone!

 

 

Six Days in Seattle

After much agonizing over saving for a rainy day versus following my heart, I decided to go for it and head to Seattle and start a doctoral program. I am intimidated by the sound of it myself; I am starting on a PhD in Organizational Systems, emphasis Humane Education. I am not sure where my research will take me at this point, but I know I want to look at animal sheltering, animal welfare, animal agriculture and farm sanctuary among other possible topics. The program, through Saybrook University, requires all new students to attend a residential orientation conference for two days, followed by a residential program attended by all of the students, new and continuing. I am in Seattle for a total of 6 days at the lovely Cedarbrook Lodge. Today is Day 4, and we have a little free time (a little).

Of course, before I could leave Oakland, we had to say goodbye to foster kitten Abracadabra. She had gained enough weight to go back to the shelter for spaying and vaccinations to go out to the adoption center and find her new family. Good luck little Abby! It was hard to say goodbye.

Abby

I am an anxious traveler, and don’t travel alone that often, so this felt like I was going on a big adventure. I checked in at the Alaska Airlines counter in the International Terminal of San Francisco International Airport and had to go through the misery that is security screening with a very many international travelers even though my flight was domestic; it took quite a long time. But the International Terminal is quite nice otherwise. This mural is before you hit security. You might not love California quite as much afterward.

ILY

There is quite a lot of art in the airport, from wall murals to changing exhibitions. Some of my favorite murals were Joyce Hsu’s Namoo House:

Hsu 2 Hsu label

Enrique Chagoya’s Love Letters:

Chagoya Chagoya label

And Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel’s Waiting:

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After a coffee (why does soy milk cost 75 cents more than regular at a coffee place?), I headed to my gate. Right across the aisle was a flight for Paris. Too bad the conference isn’t there! Seattle is a nice place, so I went to my correct line and didn’t try to sneak on the Paris flight.

Paris Seattle sign

How civilized; there are charging stations at every seat on the Alaska Airlines flight. All planes should have these.

seat outlet

On arrival at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, I was pleasantly surprised by how clean and, dare I say, pretty, the airport is. Even the bathroom is pleasing to the eye! And you can rate the cleanliness; it was “smiley face” clean.

bathroom art bathroom rating

Everything was so well signed and accessible that I had my bag at baggage claim and was on the Cedarbrook shuttle in what seemed a matter of minutes. The lodge is remarkably close to the airport but it is anything but your traditional airport hotel. You feel like you are miles from everything!

Cedarbrook door Cedarbrook grounds 1

I decided to pay for the luxury and ease of dinner the the lodge’s Copperleaf Restaurant. I am not used to eating in restaurants alone, so I took a book (Alice Hoffman, The Museum of Extraordinary Things), but I was too busy taking pictures and eating delicious food to get much reading done.

Cedarbrook dining Museum

I was intrigued by the table decorations; a frog riding a snail was the best. They sell them in the lodge’s gift shop. Might have to get one!

giddyup snail

The conference started bright and early the next morning. Signed in, got my agenda and name tag, and tried not to get any more anxious than I already was.

agenda student Day 1

It’s been a jam-packed few days but I have learned a lot, made a whole new group of friends, and been inspired to affirm that I made the right decision.  And 6 days at the lodge is not a bad thing! There is even a piano in the business center.

Cedarbrook room 1 Cedarbrook piano Cedarbrook grounds 2

Last night was the graduation ceremony for the 2015 graduates. It was very inspiring and I covet the velvet sash that I too will wear if I play my cards right (well, if I work hard).

graduates graduation graduation flowers

I am exhausted, overwhelmed, apprehensive, inspired, excited…but this is an amazing and supportive group of faculty and students and we are all on each others’ sides. I will be glad to head home on Tuesday evening, but I will also be sad to leave this amazing learning community to start doing the distance education work. That’s the plus side of social media–we can all keep in touch and keep our community going even thought we are spread around the country (and globe). Still smiling!

student Day 2

Summer on a plate/in a glass

It has been unusually hot for the Bay Area of California the last few days. Maybe it was earthquake weather? I don’t really know what that means, but it’s been hot, muggy, and hazy.  And voilà, this morning we had a 4.0 earthquake centered in the Piedmont area of Oakland. I was awake, up and feeding the foster kitten, Abracadabra. I was in the middle of my open kitchen so I couldn’t really get under a doorway or a desk or table, so I held on and hoped for the best! No damage at our house. The pets weren’t impressed.

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For your entertainment, a little shot of foster kitten Abracadabra.

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Despite the heat this weekend, I decided to make a trip into San Francisco. I got on BART at 10:51 a.m.  and since there was a Giants baseball game in the early afternoon, the cars were already awash in orange and black hats and t-shirts; and it was unbearable in the cars, like being in a sauna with a whole bunch of other people, not all of whom smell so good. Not necessarily a reflection on Giants fans! I am one!

giants

I headed toward the San Francisco Street Food Festival at Pier 70, but it was so hot, and Pier 70 is not really that nice (all hot black asphalt, no shade, and the roasting pigs on spits were way more than this vegan could stand).

SFFF

Instead, I ended up in nearby Esprit Park, with trees and shades (!), and home to the Urban Open Air Street Market, much more my speed.

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Esprit-Park IMG_6499 IMG_6500

Not necessarily a lot of vegan eats (but no animals on spits, thank goodness), but I had a wonderful cold and refreshing watermelon agua fresca that kept me going for the trip back to the East Bay.

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You might be able to see from the shot of the Ferry Building how hazy the air is. The fires north of here are affecting our air quality. It’s really frightening with the fire danger so high, and so many people have been evacuated in the fire zones. And the loss of wildlife and habitat is unthinkable.

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Back in Oakland, our air conditioner was deployed, one of the few days every summer we feel compelled to use it. Neither of us felt like cooking and it was too hot for anything heavy, so we opted for salad bar dinner (or as my family calls it, big weird salad). Summer on a plate!

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Eating on folding trays in front of the television in the air conditioning–childhood memories for sure. However, as a child I wouldn’t have been watching Rectify, one of the best shows on right now but not 1960s mother-approved fare, for sure. I think we would have been watching The Doris Day Show.

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What better way to wind up a hot summer night than with an iced coffee? Decaf of course.

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The foster kitten returns to the East Bay SPCA tomorrow to prep for adoptions now that she’s put on some weight. I’ll miss her! But hopefully we will get another one when traveling dies down. I am off to Seattle in a couple of days; expect some blogging as I start on my doctoral program in humane education with Saybrook University at our term opening from Cedarbrook Lodge!

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