Category Archives: Bainbridge Island, WA

Odes to Autumn

Before October ends, I had to get these photos of our local Bainbridge fall colors out. I’m so glad I took these shots because we had strong winds blow a lot of these leaves off just a day later. I hope you enjoy them!
fall colors on Bainbridge Island
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
― Albert Camus
fall colors pond
“I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”
― Henry David Thoreau
pumpkin patch
“No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face.”
― John Donne
fall color tree
“It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life.”
― P.D. James
fall colors
“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne

Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival – Come see!

It may be after Labor Day and you may not be wearing your white shoes anymore come on, people!, but Mother Nature’s still squeaking out some glorious warm days in the Pacific Northwest.

We took advantage and headed to the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival (an easy, 1 1/2 hour drive from Bainbridge Island) on one of those days.port townsend, waThe place was packed, three boats thick, on the docks.

You may not know this cuz no one listens to me around here! but the Hubs used to be a liveaboard on his own 65′ wooden boat (motorized) in Alaska, so it was with great trepidation I made this outing with him.
wooden boatAnything could happen, right?

He could get smitten with another bloodsucking, bank-draining, time-hoarding, soul-crushing wooden boat. He could talk so long with boat owners I’d need IV fluids and a stretcher. He could get fascinated with the tool demonstrations of metal cutting wood and then cutting it over again, and again. and probably again and we’d never leave!

While the Hubs talked to the boat people, the Kid and I went aboard boats. Some had the living situation all figured out.wooden boat master suiteWe saw several built-in bathtubs this ALMOST changes everything.wooden boat bathtubMood lighting, anyone?

We did eat pretty well.paella manAnd took in some fantastic views.bow view wooden boatEvery boat should have a hammock, don’t you think?wooden boat hammockAre you, or have you ever been, a boat person?PT wooden boat festival

Dog Ownership: An Eight-Foot Love Triangle

We’ve all heard it: a dog is “Man’s Best Friend.”

This is never more true than in my own house. We have an eight-foot triangle. See, I love my dog dearly, but she has made it abundantly clear in her almost twelve years that she doesn’t love me. She loves him, my husband.

And not in a oh-he’s-alright kind of way. In an I Dream of Jeanie I’ll do anything for you, master and may I lick between your toes for 25 minutes now, master? kind of way.

dogs

I get a lot of shots of this, her rump.


Rejection on a professional or creative level is hard to take; rejection in relationships is torturous. But rejection by your dog, the one you’ve had since puppyhood, is the worst.

Sure, she wags her stubby tail and flops her ears back when I come home. For a minute. Like as a favor to me. After a few seconds, I see in her eyes a glimpse of Good enough? We done here? before she trots off to find him.

dogs

And another rump.

If she sits by me on the couch (see how nice I am, she can sit on the couch!), the quickest way to have her leave is if I pet her. And who does she roll on her back for, showing her fuzzy tummy every morning? Him.

It’s not like my husband loves her more. In fact, I think I love her more, but he gives her more treats and more steak off his fork and well, she’s basically a cold-hearted food slut.

She’s so obvious about her preference that it’s possible I’ve gotten a tad resentful. It may be true I no longer fill up the water dish immediately or restock the dog biscuits. I have to protect my own heart, you know.

I hope to start anew some day, wipe the past clean and have my dog lavish me daily with affection.

Yes, some day I hope to get a new dog.

Does your dog show favorites? Tell me I’m not alone!

Top 5 Tips for Blackberry Picking

blackberry pickingWe’ve had a sunny summer on Bainbridge Island (sunsunsunsun! we shall now call it “sunner!” instead of “summer”) and the blackberries are already bursting all over the place.

That means all over the island people are picking berries and whining and getting pricked by those spiky tendrils.

I grew up in Dallas but I’ve lived here over a decade time, where do you go? and have whined a LOT learned a few things in regard to this delicious and evil (a winning combination!) fruit.

1. Use protection. Never fails, every year, I forget to wear enough protective gear at first. I cannot overemphasize this probably, I could! Blackberry bushes are Satan. They don’t just prick you *ouch!* but they deposit some lingering, fizzy evilness, just like stinging nettles do. To get nettles like Langdon Cook taught us, I wear gloves and use scissors, but you cannot do the delicate act of berry picking this way. The most I can do is layer up, long sleeves, long pants (extra thick, sturdy old jeans are great, not the stretchy, thin stuff of fashion departments!), closed-neck shirt, maybe even a hat, or at least pull back long hair. I have not found gloves that protect me and still allow me to pick gently. So I just send my hands in there carefully, like a game of Operation.

2. Deploy child labor. Not only will this lower your odds of being injured (although living with a suffering child is a whole other kind of pain…), but the picking will go faster and you’ll get more berries unless your child labor has become like mine–a lazy whiner quitter girl. Tell them “it’s fun!” and that’ll buy you a few seasons.

3. Bigger is not necessarily better. I know you want to haul out your biggest buckets for this project, but with fragile berries, don’t do it! Unless your planned use for them is a berry compote, you’ll want a wide, flat container so you’re not making a berry high-rise and smushing all the goodness. Don’t smush the goodness, people!

4. Look down. We’ve discussed clothing, but I personally have marched off dressed appropriately except for my feet. Guess what, the bastard branches twisted around my feet and up under my pant leg! Do you want sizzling stinging sensations on your toes? your ankles? I think not. Wear solid shoes and socks.

5. Timing is everything.
Don’t get all excited and head out right after a rainy night. It sounds silly with these sunny days, but wait ’til fall is almost here and you see little black fruits still dangling! Take a breath. The berries hold that moisture and more times than not, get mushy. Let them dry a bit before picking. Also, make sure those little “pockets” as the Kid calls them, are large enough. That’s where the juicy, sweet goodness is. I, too, hate patient, but you’ll be glad later. Who needs an unplanned pucker-fest of unripe berries in their mouth?

So far, we’ve eaten some berries, frozen some and I believe have many, many more to harvest. Here’s to pain-free berry picking!

Do you have any tricks for picking? Favorite berry recipes?

blackberries

Story Slam: A Chat with a Storyteller

field's end story slamLast week we held another Island Story Slam, presented by Field’s End at Treehouse Cafe on Bainbridge Island. It was our third, and once again drew a standing-room-only crowd.

Every one has such a good time at these, watching and participating (yes, I told a story!), that I felt it was worth a discussion. So I interviewed Kate Walton, a repeat storyteller who’s placed first and second at our last two story slams.

Here’s our conversation with Kate:

story slam storyteller1. Had you ever been to a story slam before? What do you think people like so much about these slams?

I hadn’t been to a Story Slam before coming across the first one you held, purely by chance. My husband and I were at The Treehouse for dinner and we heard all this laughing, so we went in, stood at the back, and caught the tail end. I was hooked right away. I think what draws people, and what certainly drew me, is the immediacy of it. Most of us spend a lot of time in front of screens these days; there’s something wonderful about having a real, live person up there telling a story without notes. It has a rawness, and a “now-ness,” that is completely refreshing.

2. You’ve placed 2nd in the last two story slams. Do you have any tips for someone thinking about storytelling? Were you nervous? How did you prepare?

I was petrified, both times. My only real advice is this: do it anyway. It’s so much fun, and the crowd could not be kinder. You won’t regret it.

I prepared by talking to myself in the car. (Yep, I was that crazy person in the ferry line.) I timed myself, and I do think that’s important. When you’re on the stage, five minutes goes by in a flash, so it’s key to work out what you can and can’t cover in that amount of time. Also, the first time I was a storyteller, it happens that I had an upper endoscopy on the morning of the competition. But I wouldn’t actually recommend that–it’s totally unhelpful.

3. What do you think makes a good story for a story slam competition?

I think it helps to have some structure: a real beginning, middle, and end. I don’t think it matters as much whether a story is funny, serious, suspenseful, or something else entirely. Anything can work well, as long as it’s engaging, and I think that’s achieved mainly through a sense of movement, i.e. having some sort of narrative arc.

4. We’ve noticed several repeat storytellers at our events. What is it that storytellers have that makes them get up there (again and again)?

To listen as intently as the Story Slam audience listens is an act of great generosity. I think any of us who have taken the stage have felt the power of that, and it’s hard not to want more of it.

5. Did you feel different about yourself or see the world differently after going up there the first time?

It is no exaggeration to say that, after a Story Slam, the world feels a little kinder, and a little better. You have survived something terrifying, and it was actually fun. And you’ve heard all these stories, often about times that were difficult in some way, and you see that people have come through them. They have quite literally lived to tell the tale–and the tales are often heartwarming and very funny.

Now that I’ve told my story up there, too, I totally agree, Kate! Thanks for your answers!


So who’s ready to be a story slam storyteller?