Archive for Friendship

Gratitude and Grievance…

How do we even begin to think about what’s going on in the world?  It feels like the Rapture. Fires (in Australia where I have family), floods (in the UK where I have a granddaughter), earthquakes (6.5 in Idaho this week where I have children and grandchildren), and pestilence – especially the pestilence – that’s driven everyone into quarantine.

This worldwide virus has changed everything about the way we live—and think about life. It’s intensified our lives, loves, and hates. It’s brought out the best in some and the worst in others. And, it’s given everyone but first responders, nurses, doctors, and other health care professionals time to think about the way they live their lives, who and what they want in those lives, and how they plan to live if they survive the Death-Star. read more

My Quarantine Project…

In the days before the great pandemic, when life was simpler and we were living normally, M and I stopped to have a glass of something before dinner – often with a small dish of nuts or olives – and talk over the day. We still do but these days are not normal, but it seems especially important now to share small pleasures. It doesn’t surprise me that sales of beer, wine, and spirits have risen 300-500 percent in the last two weeks in the wake of the statewide quarantine. After you’ve binge watched Mrs. Maisel, Chernobyl, Berlin Babylon, and Jack Ryan you need a jolt of something strong. read more

A Small Business Crisis…

Kris and Karen have an inspiring story. Coming from diverse backgrounds, they found each other, had three children – now in college, high school, and middle school – and she became a citizen. Five years ago, they opened a small café in a strip mall in Kenmore. Kris was an experienced chef with years of restaurant experience but never as an owner/operator. The café was their American dream. 

Marilynn and I were among their first customers. To my eye, as a former restaurant owner, it looked vulnerable—nicely done but probably under-financed in a location with almost no foot traffic. On that first visit, the sales rep from Caffe D’arte was training Karen in the art of espresso. We were pleasantly surprised. As a coffee snob I had doubts, but she nailed our lattes and our patronage. It became our go-to espresso stop. read more

Ordinary People…

Salquin (Idlib) Syria – Med’s hometown

In 2017 I wrote about my friend, Mohammed “Med” Malandi, a young Syrian refugee living in Berlin. I told the story of his harrowing escape and journey across Turkey, to Greece, then on to Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary, Austria and finally to Germany. Med is one of the lucky few. In 2018 he was granted asylum and the right to work in Germany. His brother, Hussein, landed in the Netherlands, but their parents stayed in Idlib – one of the few remaining rebel-controlled areas in the northwest corner of Syria. read more

Weather and Creativity…

This is the bus I take from home to my downtown “office” on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Marilynn comes with me every Thursday. She hates the bus but loves me, so she bites the bullet and rides along. I love both her and the bus… in that order.

Over the years I’ve made a number of friends on my bus commute – all women. I got to know two of them well enough to have an occasional lunch with them. One, Mary Lou, lost her husband Bob unexpectedly and her confusion and grief were palpable. Not long after Bob’s death she moved away and we no longer share the bus ride. I often wonder how she’s doing? The younger one, Linda, has two children in Middle School. She’s married to Mark, a former airline pilot. He flew for Aloha and commuted to Honolulu. It was the job he’d always dreamed of but after two furloughs he gave it up. Now he drives a bus for King County Metro just like the one I ride to work. It pays well and he has a stable life with Linda and their kids. No more white scarf and leather flight jacket glamor but a healthy family life. read more