Monday, May 31, 2010

first garden goodie of the season...

Even with the recent lack of sunlight and warm temps, the garden plants seem to be doing ok. Some better than others, but they're all surviving. The French radishes have gone crazy and we picked the first ones today. They are delicious. I don't like hot radishes and these are anything but that.

Something is eating the basil. They are none to fond of the mint, but LOVE the basil.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

doesn't seem like 15 years ago ...

Dan and I first visited Seattle during the Memorial Day weekend in 1995, while we were living in Chicago. We were out here to see Grateful Dead shows, both in Seattle and Portland, and to meet up with some friends. I remember the ride in our rental car from the airport to our hotel near the Space Needle......I couldn't get over how beautiful everything was. The mountains, the water, the intense colors of the trees and flowers - it was overwhelming. In addition to seeing music, we wanted to see as much of the area and sights as we could. We took off early in the morning on show days and saw some amazing things. Along with our traveling buddy Steve, we put nearly 1200 miles on our rental car. We saw Mt. Rainier, the Hoh Rainforest, the Oregon coast from Florence north and Mt. Hood. We knew after that trip that this is where we wanted to move. And two years later, we did.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

our house, c. 1944 ...

I've been intending to order this photo for years now and I finally got my act together a couple weeks ago. Per my request, the Puget Sound Regional Archives produced this image and some building permit information from 1944, when the house was constructed. It's interesting to see all the changes to the structure since this photo was taken - along with all the changes to the surrounding flora. Just curious, what's with all the cement blocks ??

Friday, May 21, 2010

Happy 30th Pac-Man

Pac-Man was released in Japan by video game company Namco 30 years ago tomorrow. Geez - nothing like that news to make you feel old. Originally called Puck Man, Pac-Man was launched in the U.S. in October 1980, selling more than 100,000 units the first year of production. Now the game is listed by Guinness World Records as the world's most successful coin-operated game.

Quoting Kenji Hisatsune, president, chief executive and chief operating officer of Namco Networks America, "Pac-Man is a gateway game. It's simple, with well-established rules and boundaries. The game play is short and quick, but highly addictive and fun. Gamers and non-gamers alike recognize Pac-Man and can pick the game up very easily." At age 11, it was my first. I remember seeing it in a bar at a restaurant for the first time and wondering "what is THAT ???" What a great time to be a kid !

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

30 years ago today

Summary of May 18, 1980 Eruption of Mount St. Helens (courtesy of

Elevation of summit: 9,677 feet before; 8,363 feet after; 1,314 feet removed
Volume removed*: 0.67 cubic miles (3.7 billion cubic yards)
Crater dimensions: 1.2 miles (east-west); 1.8 miles (north-south); 2,084 feet deep
Crater floor elevation: 6,279 feet

Area and volume*:
23 square miles; 0.67 cubic miles (3.7 billion cubic yards)
Depth of deposit: Buried 14 miles of North Fork Toutle River Valley to an average depth of 150 feet (max. depth 600 feet)
Velocity: 70 to 150 miles per hour

Area covered: 230 square miles; reached 17 miles northwest of the crater
Volume of deposit*: 0.046 cubic miles (250 million cubic yards)
Depth of deposit: From about 3 feet at volcano to less than 1 inch at blast edge
Velocity: At least 300 miles per hour
Temperature: As high as 660¡ F (350¡ C)
Energy released: 24 megatons thermal energy (7 by blast, rest through release of heat)
Trees blown down 4 billion board feet of timber (enough to build about 300,000 two-bedroom homes)

Velocity: About 10 to 25 miles per hour (over 50 miles per hour on steep flanks of volcano)
Damaged 27 bridges, nearly 200 homes
Effects on Cowlitz River: Reduced carrying capacity at flood stage at Castle Rock from 76,000 cfs (cubic feet per second) to less than 15,000 cfs
Effects on Columbia River: Reduced channel depth from 40 to 14 feet; stranded 31 ships in upstream ports

Height: Reached about 80,000 feet in less than 15 minutes
Downwind extent: Spread across US in 3 days; circled Earth in 15 days
Volume of ash*: 0.26 cubic miles (1.4 billion cubic yards)
Ash fall area: Detectable amounts of ash covered 22,000 square miles
Ash fall depth: 10 inches at 10 miles downwind (ash and pumice); 1 inch at 60 miles downwind

covered 6 square miles; reached as far as 5 miles north of crater
Volume & depth*: 0.029 cubic miles (155 million cubic yards); multiple flows 3 to 30 feet thick; cumulative depth of deposits reached 120 feet in places
Velocity: Estimated at 50 to 80 miles per hour
Temperature: At least 1,300¡ F (700¡ C)

Wildlife: Countless non-burrowing wildlife in blast area, including about 7,000 big game animals; about 12 million salmon fingerlings in hatcheries

*volumes are based on uncompacted deposits

Sunday, May 16, 2010

starting to feel a bit more like summer ...

I always look forward to street fairs during the summer. It's another thing I miss about my days in Chicago. Every weekend hosted a great neighborhood festival filled with good food and great music. This weekend, the U-District Street Fair kicked off the season here in Seattle. Our weather couldn't have been more perfect. Summer is feeling like it's right around the corner now...

Friday, May 14, 2010

It's Copper River time !


An Alaska Airlines cargo plane from Cordova, Alaska, is scheduled to arrive at 6:45 a.m. Friday at Sea-Tac Airport with 25,000 pounds of fresh sockeye and kings. The season opened Thursday on the Copper River.

Copper River salmon, considered one of the finest salmon available, shows a deep-orange and lends a truly remarkable, rich and nutty salmon flavor. Its high oil content makes this fish so rich and flavorful. The concentration of Omega-rich oil comes from the salmon readying for their 320-mile journey up the Copper River to spawn. This salmon has some of the highest oil content and flavor of any salmon second only to the famous Yukon River salmon, whose run begins in mid June. The Copper River Fishery is primarily a Sockeye run, with Kings comprising a much smaller percentage. Copper River salmon is caught in central Alaska in the Prince William Sound area, near Cordova. Gillnet fishermen gently handle and grade Copper River salmon, assuring quality of these cherished fish. The fish are caught in the “flats” of the Copper River Delta before they head upstream to spawn.

Bring it on !!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

brief hiatus ...

I was back in Illinois visiting family for the past week. Always seems like a short visit, but nice to get back there nonetheless. And it was nice to be with my mom and my sister for Mother's Day.

I was able to see my nephew play baseball one afternoon, which was a real treat. He played a really good game and threw over 100 pitches.