Day 317: Waiting for Shanghai

Freighters anchor in Elliott Bay waiting for an end to a dock workers' slowdown.

Freighters anchor in Elliott Bay waiting for an end to a dock workers’ slowdown.

And still we wait. Our possessions were shipped from Shanghai back in early October, but a slowdown by dock workers here in the USA has caused a backlog of freight that remains on the docks, or on ship that have yet to be unloaded. We are scheduled to move out of temporary housing and into our new apartment on December 1st, but may have to extend our temporary stay while we wait for pots and pans and towels and lamps and furniture.

Day 313: Still Looking

The city of Seattle as seen from Kinnear Park

The city of Seattle as seen from Kinnear Park

The search for a place to call home continues and has expanded up the hill to Queen Anne, a less downtown-type neighborhood, one with single-family houses and not just high-rise apartments.

Day 312: Futbol in America

Fans flash cards in support of Seattle Sounders FC before the start of the semi-final playoff game against Dallas FC

Fans flash cards in support of Seattle Sounders FC before the start of the semi-final playoff game against Dallas FC

Futbol (Soccer to most Americans) may be the world’s most popular sport and a secondary, or even tertiary sport in the United States, but Seattle defies that way of thinking. The Seattle Sounders FC regularly outdraws the Seattle Mariners baseball team even though baseball is supposed to be America’s pastime. ( Sounders 2014 average attendance: 43,734; Seattle Mariners average attendance: 25, 485).

In contrast, James and I attended a futbol game in Shanghai, this summer, and the attendance at the Shanghai Dongya F.C. match couldn’t have been more than 3,000 fans.

Day 311: Two Ships

A late afternoon ferry heads from Seattle to one of the outlying islands.

A late afternoon heads from Seattle to one of the outlying islands.


The air, water and sunsets are very different here in Seattle than they were in Shanghai. The air is fresh and is filled with the smell of the sea and the sun throws of the most vibrant pinks and oranges imaginable, not once or twice a year, like I experienced in Shanghai, but on most any day that isn’t raining.

Day 308: Welcome Home

A homeless man trying to stay warm and get some sleep.

A homeless man trying to stay warm and get some sleep.

Welcome back to America, the world’s richest nation and home to way too many people trying to survive on the cold, hard streets. This man is around the corner from our apartment, tucked out of view alongside the Uptown theater. He’s surrounded by apartments renting for $1500 to $3500 per month, and rising. The economy is recovering, albeit, unsteadily and unequally; the stock market is roaring full-speed ahead, and corporate profits continue to break records, but the average wage is stagnant, or falling and more and more people fall through the cracks. Yesterday’s election will not improve things for those who need it the most. Welcome to America 2014.

Day 306: If this is Sunday it must be Seattle

A rainy, early November day in Seattle sees few people out and about.

A rainy, early November day in Seattle sees few people out and about.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. After a little more than 13 months living in Shanghai, China, we are now back in the United States, housed in a comfortable, two-bedroom apartment in our old Seattle neighborhood. It’s a temporary apartment while we search for more permanent quarters (rents have gone up while we were away!) Thoraxis is acclimating to his new country, but seems confused by carpeting; after spending his entire short life living on marble & wood floors, he thinks a carpet is just a large puppy pee pad.  My work continues. But it’s good to be back in the states. James came over this afternoon for lunch, we walked to the Pike Street Market for fresh flowers, I haven’t drank water out of a plastic bottle since Friday, and despite the low clouds and rain I can see for miles and miles and miles and miles.

Day 150: School’s Out!

A bulldozer sits amid a pile of broken bricks  at the site of a former school, in Boise, Idaho, USA

A bulldozer sits amid a pile of broken bricks at the site of a former school, in Boise, Idaho, USA

Last week I drove by this site and there was a youth lacrosse team playing in the field, cars were parked in the parking lot and the building, a school, was standing. Last night, this is all that was left. America’s love affair with building and tearing down continues.

School’s out.“Well we got no choice
All the girls and boys
Makin’ all that noise
‘Cause they found new toys
Well we can’t salute ya can’t find a flag
If that don’t suit ya that’s a drag
School’s out for summer
School’s out forever
School’s been blown to pieces” —

School’s Out, Alice Cooper, 1972

 — in Boise, ID.