Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
I have lost a very good friend. Her name was Éliane.
We had been close for almost thirty years since our early time together in Idaho. She moved to Coeur d’Alene from New York City when we were young and made a strong impression on me from the start. The first words she ever spoke to me were actually “I hate you!” This had to do with the fact that we were polar opposites in almost every way and always valued and envied what the other person brought to the equation. She was exotic, big city, worldly, multi-lingual, outspoken and bold with black hair and lovely Latin looks. I was a fair skinned, Nordic ranch girl with a big family who kept my thoughts to myself much of the time and always made my decisions and acted in a cautious and studied way. We were like salt and sugar, Yin and Yang, Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder.
I remember once we went into Spokane to see an INXS concert together. After the concert (which was great, by the way), Éliane just HAD to get backstage to meet Michael Hutchence. She told me that she was going to figure out a way to do it, and I thought she was full of #$&%. I couldn’t imagine how a lowly high school student could talk her way backstage to rub elbows with one of the most popular bands of the time. I would never have dared. She did it…got his autograph, chatted, and I’m sure made an impression. There were many famous and interesting people that she got to meet over the years because she wasn’t afraid to ask. She was bold and forward, in a good way.
She was also a thoughtful and loyal friend. She never forgot a birthday or anniversary of mine, or anyone in my family. She liked to send little packages with things that she had set aside for us…sometimes odd things. Like the time that she sent a whole box full of magazines that she had picked up at a doctor’s office and gone through to dog ear the articles she thought I would be interested in. She’d send the kids Peeps and Lemonheads, Gore & Obama campaign pins for me, and miscellaneous other trinkets and treasures that she found for us all the time, like Post-It Notes from the Scottish Tourist Bureau or key rings with our initials. On my recent birthday she sent me 40 fresh tulips (her favorite flower) in a box, all the way from New York. She called to make sure they arrived safely and were put into water right away to keep them fresh. They did and they were. She paid attention to details.
Sometimes it could be exhausting to be her friend. I often felt like I should be reciprocating more with the little things…sending her care packages too, and just doing MORE. I mostly just tried to be there for her and listen when she needed someone to talk to, because she often did. For every vibrant life peak that Éliane had, there was also a valley. She could quickly become sullen and irritable and say things without thinking them through. When we were younger I poetically ascribed this to her fiery Latin nature, but as an adult I came to understand that it was really bouts of depression and mood swings that made her say and do some of the things she did. It made it hard for her to keep jobs for long, and to maintain healthy relationships with friends and much of her family…and to find someone to share her life with.
In the past few years she has been troubled a lot. She has moved many times, never quite feeling settled and good about where she was. I think now that it was a physical manifestation of how she felt inside. Nothing seemed to fit. She struggled to achieve the goals that she set for herself. Sometimes this was because she would self sabotage by not recognizing boundaries or having an effective social filter, but sometimes outside forces really did seem to conspire against her. She felt broken and unfixable.
I tried many times to get her to see herself as I did, full of great things to offer the world and hopeful prospects for her own future. She wanted to be a lawyer. She wanted to adopt a little girl from Columbia and be a mother someday. She wanted to have a home and family and mundane stability. She wanted to be the center of someone’s life. We talked and talked…she talked mostly. I wasn’t sure what to say. I didn’t have any magic words. I wish that I had been a better support in the past few months, that there had been more of my own reserves to devote to her, that I knew the right things to say and help fill the void she felt. But I didn’t. I hope she knows that she was important to me.
My prayers and these tangible memories go out into the ether for her. I loved her and will miss her dearly.
In Memory of Éliane
tulip photo courtesy of Vera Kratochvil
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Even though it's brand new, I have a strong suspicion that the Market Arms is going to become a Ballard institution. There is already a strong bond formed between some of the old guard Norwegians of Ballard and this new English crew. I love it. I can't wait to see what the t-shirts are going to look like (hmmm John?).
It's also just a really nice space to hang out in: lots of windows and light, mixed with lots of wood and warmth. A great deal of care and attention to detail was taken during the build-out. The table bases were brought in from England, the bar was custom made for the space, large screen TVs are easily viewable from every seat in the house, and the signs in the bathroom were attached to the wall with magical screws so that they can't be nicked from the place too easily.
AND they're open just in time to start showing all of the 2010 World Cup matches (which begin this Friday). If you are a soccer fan, you may have already peed your pants with excitement. If you're not a soccer follower and fan of all the roudy World Cup revelry, remember to come back in another month or two when the windows are all open, the sun (or moon?) is shining off of the water, the folks at the table next to you have a relaxed card game going, you can hold a pint of beer in your hand...and settle in for the long, lovely haul.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
The very friendly and accommodating owners of Ballard Bee Co. (Corky Luster and Karen Percelle) place hives all around Ballard, which means the honey collected is a true reflection of our neighborhood and the " diverse plants that thrive in our local gardens and parks." They supply select local restaurants and grocers with the raw honey that they harvest.
The city of Seattle allows a maximum of four hives per lot in city limits, so Ballard Bee Co. has set up "hosting" relationships with neighborhood residents who are willing to have hives placed on their property, and be maintained by BBC. I'm considering getting on the waiting list for hives to be placed at our house. BBC also rents hives and does consultation work for folks interested in learning beekeeping themselves. It's awesome!
To read more about the Ballard Bee Company, visit their website and read the interview done on MyBallard.com. Good stuff!!
photo courtesy of the Ballard Bee Co. website