21 June, 2008

Alone but for the squirrels... and cats (new details added)

Location: Central District
Mood: meandering

My weekend routine involves making an early delivery at the Cherry Hill Swedish Hospital up the street from me. After that, I set out on a morning quest in the name of coffee, exercise, solitude, and maybe some form of reading. Today it included a laptop on the excursion as well, with the destination of Essential Baking Company in Madison Valley.

There are a million different routes one could take to get from point A to point B and I typically like to stay off the main roads, because they're not as interesting, and they're louder. And more importantly, there are not as many squirrels on the main roads.

If you really want to experience urban wildlife, you need to take the backroads. So, this time I decided to take 19th a good ways up to Union, and then headed down towards maybe 25th or something like that, and then to Olive, and finally down to MLK Blvd. There were many interesting things along today's route.

It's just a pretty neighborhood all around, though there's quite a mixture of well-maintained and run-down houses. That's the nature of the Central District. I guess it is the nature of a lot of neighborhoods in Seattle... Wallingford... Fremont... Ballard... Crown Hill... Maple Leaf... everywhere you go there's that mixture of really run-down shit, and beautiful homes. It's a bit of a shame that people don't just take better care of things. I did not take pictures of people's houses, because I didn't want anyone to call the police on me. Though I doubt anyone was awake. Still.

So, as I mentioned earlier, there were some interesting things. One house had some weird mural of a demon on the fence, and a bicycle wheel mounted to the fence. And then, in front of the house, they had this. I realize I posted this photo upside-down. But I don't think it really makes much difference:

Interesting. I am not sure what to make of it. But I guess it is art.

In addition to house art, there was also car art. People pimp out their vehicles in a variety of fashions. Some people use fancy methods, and others appear to use Krylon spray paint.

Whatever suits you.

But the big stars of today's walk were, of course, the little guys. The squirrels were out en masse this morning, and they were truly happy. I think they enjoy the part of the day where cars are not yet driving, and people are not yet walking their dogs, and cats are still laying on their owners' beds. The squirrels had many projects this morning. Unfortunately, the quality of my camera phone limited my ability to show you just how wonderful and glorious they were. But I will try to give you a few little snapshots of their morning activities.

One squirrel had found large slices of stale bread on the sidewalk - as big as him! And he was carrying one off, away from me, for fear perhaps that I might take his bread away! And then under "cover" of the bushes, he was nibbling the bread.

So cute.

Then I came across a flock of squirrels who were chasing each other around the base of the tree, and running across the street (not safe) and got a shot of this guy peeking at me from the edge of the road. I think he assumed I could not see him through the grass. Not so smart. But cute!

There were also a couple of cats along the route. One was near the squirrels but apparently unaware that the squirrels were available. The other was a mangy little female cat (presuming, based on size) with one messed up ear. I tried to befriend her, but she was not interested. She did the "scurry, pause, turn, crouch, scurry" procedure that fraidy-cats use. Note that this cat was so mangy that she was acutally BLURRY. That's not the camera that caused this!

Along my route, a bunch of cyclists passed me, and it irked me to see that this group of riders was completely blocking traffic by riding two abreast with a line of cars trapped behind them as they rode between 12 and 15 miles per hour. I talked with some bicycling friends about this and asked them "Is this legal?" and apparently it is. But here is my gripe with this. If bicyclists want to be given all the rights and recognition as a "vehicle", then they should always behave like a vehicle. But, so often I see bicyclists interpreting themselves interchangeably as "vehicle" and "pedestrian" as they see fit... riding on sidewalks, running stop signs, riding through crosswalks during a red light, etc. I don't think it's appropriate that they get to "have it both ways". End of rant.

There was one funny thing I overheard from the herd of cyclists.

One cyclist to another: "It was some type of 'Meister' drink... like, Jaegermeister and one of the other Meisters"

What the hell are these "other Meisters" of which he speaks?

Anyway, finally I made my way down to Essential Baking Company on Madison. Upon arriving, I immediately came to the sad realization that my "big plan" would not come to fruition as intended. I left my wallet and my money in a different pair of jeans. So no coffee. No breakfast. No buzz for morning happiness [went there again on my way to work Monday morning, and told the friendly barista about this, and she said I should have just told them, and they would have given me the coffee for free and let me pay next time...]

Instead, I am sitting here, still, not really a customer. Just a loiterer. Writing this blog, and listening to Pandora, then to You Tube videos of the Police from 1978 and 1979. If you haven't done that, I highly recommend it. There is so much to do, both on the streets and on the internets. Lots to keep busy.

Headphones on, I am in a zone.

The Artist of the Month at Essential is Lynne Alexander. They do that here at Essential. Hang up a collection from a local artist... either for sale, or not.

But it's just a bunch of birds in trees. All of it. Fifteen paintings of birds in trees. It is clear that she sat with the Sibley book and pretty much copied. And the amazing thing is that she did not get bored after the first... I don't know... TWELVE or so of them! You can see her stuff at this link. I have not looked. But I bet I know what will be on that site...


  1. i'm jealous of your walk.

    and happy to know that the word "flock" can be used for squirrels :)

  2. I believe squirrels hang out in gaggles.