West Seattle, Washington
Funny, yet frightening — and practically plausible.
If only the people who shut down the Seattle streetcars last century had had a little more foresight, we wouldn’t be in this mess.
(When you see somebody weeping in front of the historic streetcar pix in the window of the Train Store in the Junction, it’s usually me.)
… is blowin’ in the wind. Or so the lovely old lyric goes.
So then, you may wonder, what’s the question?
I would suggest: What kind of extreme weather are we facing here in WS? Right now, nothing much is going on but a fairly strong breeze out of the north. Keep an eye on the hourly observations (hint, KBFI is Boeing Field, T is temps, S is wind speed) and see if Arctic Blast Freeze ’06 makes it across the border, or whether it got hung up celebrating Jeff Buttle‘s figure-skating medal.
Wandering through the Westwood Village Target, a cruel reminder of how the retail seasons turn … bathing suits dangling off the racks, tables full of shorts, the “seasonal” section in the back corner laden with deck, patio, garden items.
All this as we sink into the coldest cold snap of the year.
And of course you KNOW all that stuff will be long gone by the time the real warm weather arrives around Seafair time — the Christmas lights will be starting to twinkle, and coats will be hung by the “apparel” signs with care …
On a blue SUV headed down Fauntleroy toward the ferry dock, this yellow bumper sticker with red lettering:
So many ways to interpret that. I almost busted a brain gasket thinking through a dozen or so of them during the rest of the drive home.
When we moved into our house more than a few years ago, one of its selling points happened to be a relatively recent conversion to natural-gas heat. So much cheaper than oil or electric! … at the time.
Now, bills with LOTS of digits come sailing through the mail slot. And that’s just for the “average” winter temperatures we’ve had till now. Suddenly the big chill is upon us, the cars are frosted, my toes are frozen, and I can see far enough into the future to envision my first $200 heating bill spitting out of a PSE printer somewhere.
… I’m looking up West Seattleites with Olympic history.
First one I’ve turned up is Doris Heritage, an Olympic track star turned SPU track coach, who lives on this side of the bay, according to her bio on the SPU site.
That’s it so far … let me know if you know of someone else. Meantime, it’s back to the TV to ooh and aah and pretend I know the difference between a triple lutz and a triple toe loop.
Was hoping to dine at West 5 last night to celebrate a special occasion — got there and found the restaurant/lounge was closed for its own special occasion — with a sign on the door declaring 2/13 to be West 5’s anniversary, and a party under way somewhere. Third anniversary, I think … well, kampai & may you have many more …
Driving past the below-mentioned traffic-island decorations again, I noticed another one of the “Fairmount Springs” signs (which I’d blogged about in the early going of WSB). Two signs, definitely not a lark. This time, the search for info brought up FairmountSprings.org. No time to rattle around their site right this moment, but I’d still like to know, where did the “Springs” come from? We’ve been here for double-digit years and that neighborhood’s always been Fairmount or Fairmount Park. Any lurkers able to clue me in?
… I’d have one for the people who keep decorating their traffic island along the west side of Fauntleroy, just before the bend into Morgan Junction. It was sparkly for Christmas; now its trees and bushes have heart ornaments for Valentine’s Day. I’m not much into “cute” but I still think they deserve props for creativity that just might make a passing driver or two smile.
Sigh, I do so wish we could see first-run movies here in West Seattle.
Since we can’t, I’ll spend a few lines on a theater recommendation. Not the closest to WS, but the nicest moviehouse we’ve visited in a long time — the new multiplex in Bellevue’s just-opened Lincoln Square. Mega-comfy seats, excellent concession menu, even the restrooms are nice (with all-black commodes, interesting touch). Interesting that it seems to be independently owned, not one of those mega-chains.
The extra gas $ we spent crossing the lake was more than offset by the free parking (our own city’s downtown has very little of that).
So if you’re tired of Tukwila, dreading downtown, but yearning to see a new movie, this one’s worth a try. The classic posters just outside the entrance are worth a look, too.
Saturday morning, sun’s out, no plans. So many places we COULD go … That is the joy of West Seattle. Parks, forests, beaches. No swimming this weekend; Southwest Pool is closed for a swim meet.
I’m just going to turn off the computer and force myself out the door. Really.
Went to the newly remodeled Spiro’s Pizza & Pasta tonight. Last time we went there was at least … 10 years ago. No foolin’. Went there once, not impressed, didn’t go back. Didn’t have a reason to, really, since the pizza picture here on the west side of the bay has steadily improved — especially once Pagliacci arrived.
Then came tonight: driving around with a West Seattle Blogger Relative whose hungry heart was set on sitdown pizza. Drove past Pegasus — no surprise, crowd spilling out onto the street, as it does just about any weekend night that’s not besieged with rain (or worse). WSB Relative suggested Spiro’s. What the heck.
What a surprise! The menu’s still a lot like Pegasus (minus Caesar salad, sadly). The pizza bears a bit of resemblance — crispy-topped cheese — but much more savory than Pegasus, and less overwhelming. (“Zesty,” was the proclamation of WSB Relative.)
The atmosphere, though, remains no better than what I recall from all those years ago. The remodeling work seems to have fancied up the walls (the baseboards remain glaringly aged), but the space is insanely noisy. My workplace is clamorous enough, I don’t need to deal with that kind of racket while dining out. We’ll go again — but next time, for takeout.
First it started with a minor-sounding sinkhole … now it’s suddenly a major sewer-line replacement project along the beach at Lincoln Park (read the county’s full news release here). A mile? As in, all the way up to Lowman Beach? And will the four months be over in June? Gonna be some ugly overlap with the Colman Pool season …
The woman who inspired this Times column today had a kindred spirit along Alki Avenue not that many years ago.
I am fuzzy on specifics. But I can see it in my mind — one of those mondo-condo high-rises that went up, east of the beach, had to wrap itself around a home whose owner just wouldn’t sell out. Eventually either she sold out or died, and the home went away.
As they all do … even here in my neighborhood on the south side of the West Side, homes never seem to just change hands any more; if they are on land with even a hint of a view, the “sold” sign is followed by the backhoes, the debris, the new construction. We know we are the last owners of our little house, whether we are here six more months, six more years, or until the day we pass on to the next plane of existence (and no, I don’t mean Ballard).
Just a thought, after a trip to the Westwood Village vicinity:
When Tony’s at 35th & Barton sells Christmas trees, the prices are as steep as Mt. Rainier.
When Tony’s sells fruits and vegetables, the prices, well, crater. Right now, a sign along the street touts 50-cent Hass avocadoes, available in grocery stores for a buck and up.
In other money-related news … looked up your house at Zillow yet? The values on our street are totally cattywhompers. Zillow thinks our house is worth exactly the same as the other half-dozen on the street of similar vintage … never mind that none of them have views.
Today’s P-I article about the deal for Whole Foods to come to Fauntleroy Place uses that word to describe the project site. Seems a little harsh. Now, just a bit to the west, we *would* say that’s a good word for the empty ex-Burger King and the tattered, shuttered building that I vaguely recall as having been a car-stereo store once upon a time.
As for the project itself, we’ve got mixed emotions on the idea of a Whole Foods store here. The WS Blogger household does enjoy “health food” (brown rice is on the stove even as we type). When the WF in North Seattle was relatively new, we dropped in a few times. Found most of their stuff overpriced, including the extensive deli offerings. Didn’t see any reason to stop patronizing our local PCC, at least in favor of a crosstown drive.
So now they’ll be here, not far from the Jefferson Square Safeway — we loathe Safeways, so if business there is affected, no biggie in our personal view. The Morgan Junction Thriftway might feel some heat, since that’s just a mile down the road, and it’s cultivated a tiny bit of upscaleness. But how will the folks at PCC cope? Brand loyalty might not count for much any more, even for those of us who can count their PCC membership years on into double digits.
Bottom line for me … we would still rather see West Seattle get a Trader Joe’s, so we can stop the frequent trips to Burien!
Call it the flip side of the phenomenon that occurs in spring and summer, when the sun temporarily blinds you as you’re driving eastbound to work in the morning on the WS Bridge.
The light that blinded me (figuratively speaking) tonight was … light in the western sky, as I drove home at dusk. LIGHT IN THE SKY, AT 6 PM! HALLELUJAH!
Speaking of driving, one more plug for my new friends at the Alki News Beacon — they’re running an online poll about whether signs on local freeways should point visitors to The Beach.
Sounds like a great idea to me. I didn’t even make it over to West Seattle the first time I came to the city as a tourist in the late ’80s; even though I had a rent-a-car and roamed quite widely around the area, this side of the bay was quite the well-kept secret.
I came back two years later, and found my way here after reading a blurb in a tourist guide. The rest was history … six months after that, WS Blogger Spouse and I were loaded in the car and headed this way, for good (in more ways than one).
Even now, though, West Seattle is way too “off-the-beaten-path.” I know we don’t want to be overrun with people, but still — a little tourism could be encouraged (scenic tours? see where Seattle’s first settlers landed?), without much skin off our backs. Just a little. Daytripping, they used to call it. Sunglasses & sunscreen, here we come!
Interesting question raised in the “cover story” in the new edition of the Alki News Beacon. We here at WS Blog remember a slightly sleepier time at Alki, back when a drugstore held the space now occupied by the Alki Bakery coffeehouse, among other things. Heck, we’re just happy — when we venture beachward — to see the Homestead hasn’t been chased out yet (though we’ll red-facedly admit to never having actually set foot inside).
In our never-ending quest for updated West Seattle info online, we ran across the recently revamped Morgan Community Association site. Very nice. Looking forward to exploring it later (and perhaps discovering why it’s not the Morgan JUNCTION Community Association site, especially considering the word “junction” is part of the URL) …
OK, one last word (or a couple dozen, really):
–Sad shred of Super Bowl mania: The blue & green balloons festooning cars at one of the Huling Brothers lots.
–Moment where I wish I’d had a camera: Driving to work on the viaduct this morning, with the sky that pre-dawn deep blue, a truck flying a 12th M*n window flag (which had been beside me since leaving WS) framed against the blue-green lights on the Qwest Field roof.
Peaceful, over, let’s close the book and move on to … SPRING!