Monday, November 19, 2007

Malaria Pills check.

Polio, Pneumonia, Japanese Encephalitis, Typhoid, Tetanus, Hep A+B, MMR, flu shot check.

Republic of Viet Nam visa check.

bike seat check.

SPF45 check.

Sudoku High Country Einstein check.

$14US Republic of Viet Nam exit fee check.

Amino acids check.

Vitamin D check.

Power Bars check.

Desitin, Tea Tree Gel, Aloe check.

Helmet, gloves, clips check.

okay. it's done. I'm off.

The 'Kan EWA

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

You can say what you want about her and it's all true. Betsey Cowles in the Cruella of the downtown business community here in The 'Kan. She's the central figure in the draconian conspiracy locally known as Riverpark Square. I could be wrong but I don't believe she'll experience redemption in her lifetime or mine for her dastardly deeds as an evil, corporate greedmeister who ripped off the taxpayers of the city in the biggest scam ever. Did I get it all in? Surely I said it all, right? Good. Now shut it. No more.

You can say you want about her and it's all true. But you also have to give her credit for single-handedly reviving downtown Spokane. From the porte-cochere of the Davenport Hotel to the front door of Riverpark Square, Post Street is a whirlwind of activity, including the street kids and people waiting for the bus, well-heeled tourists, lawyers and bankers, girlfriends out for lunch, couples meeting for martinis and all kinds of other people on various and sundry missions. Buses chug back and forth through the downtown bringing and taking people back and forth to home, work and outward points. Where did the renaissance of Post Street come from?

Riverpark Square. Riverpark Square begat the Davenport Hotel, which in turn begat the Bing Crosby Theatre, which in turn begat the Fox Theatre, which in turn begat Barbieri's condo project, which in turn begat all kinds of new and terrific restaurants, which begat new indie dress and accessory shops, which is generating all kinds of new retail and service activities too numerous to mention. Look at how the banks in this town have gone to town since Riverpark Square opened their doors. How many beautiful bank buildings in downtown now? Let me help: Washington Trust, utterly classic 70's architecture, beautiful and timeless; Bank of America, granite and escalator wonder. Sterling Savings, perhaps a misstep but a hallmark of masonry accomplishment nonetheless; Bank of Whitman, noble and classic, Global Credit Union, snappy and edgy. All creating a diverse and interesting skyscape in downtown and filling empty storefronts where formerly some of the less purposeful pedestrians here in The 'Kan used to spit and urinate.

Which brings me to my second point about Betsey Cowles. Call her what you want; accuse her of anything. But you can't deny she builds beautiful buildings. Riverpark Square is utterly charming and a surprising departure from urban mallscape. The Cowles condo project on the corner of Main and Post is complimentary to the mall, yet strikes its own note on the skyscape and holds it. The integrity of downtown took a giant step forward when Ms. Cowles relocated the NBC affiliate television station downtown and build a pleasing, lovely studio on West Sprague. The Cowles Publishing modernization project features exquisite bronze busts of city pioneers here in The 'Kan EWA and it's always fun, every time, to walk up the sidewalk and look into their faces.

Betsey Cowles builds beautiful buildings and her projects contrast sharply to projects in urban areas of Puget Sound and others across the stateline in my hometown of Coeur d'Alene. No tilt-up masonry for Betsey Cowles. She puts in gorgeous projects that have put people on the streets again. She has crafted an environment that brings people together for a variety of reasons. She has breathed life into a downtown that was headed down the path to outlets, trinket stores, and fast food. Ultimately, it looks like to me that history will treat Betsey Cowles favorably; heck, Stacey's grandkids will probably have to strike a new bronze bust for the pioneer collection--of Betsey.

The 'Kan EWA

Monday, November 12, 2007

As it turns out, our neighbor is a household name in Washington State. We don't think about her celebrity status much, she's just the neighbor and a good one at that. She wasn't in today but still I wasn't prepared for the protesters that came by, appearing in my doorway from nowhere. They scared me to death. In a flak jacket with a wool hat pulled down low, the lead man asked to borrow some scotch tape. He took my breath away because he had a camera with a telephoto lens around his neck and at a glance, it looked like a gas mask. And there was no approach-- I did not hear him until he spoke and was standing no more than five feet away. He had come with his friends bearing a ghoulish casket for our neighbor. After a moment, I realized he was harmless so I gave him some tape and walked with him to witness the protest.

So much about this encounter surprised me. The lead man was friendly, gregarious, happy; for him, this was a party. His colleagues were rowdy, immature in a Beavis and Butthead manner. I don't know if subconsciously I was expecting Nelson Mandela or Alexander Solzhenitsyn and therefore was startled by the marked and stark contrast or if I thought that protests are solemn, dutiful affairs. They are not. These folks were on a lark and having the time of their life. Their demeanor belied their message and in the end, I shook my head at what a sophomoric, silly note this protest struck. They left a petition with a few paltry names, further denigrating their position; if they were passionate about their dismay, with a little elbow grease they could have included petitions with 1000 times more signatures. Slackers all. These people couldn't run for Tom Hayden's coffee. And it's likely the winter of their discontent will be a long one as a result.

The 'Kan EWA

Thursday, November 08, 2007

arrrrgh! There are so many things. The record has to set completely straight. Okay, including but not limited to this:

Few didn't want them back. They got in on Spitz' Ignatian beliefs, which he really does live. Can't believe I'm saying this but I'll go with the Protestant.

The people have spoken. Bastards. We're all moving to Tekoa. Or Priest River. Where ever there's enough houses for us all.

Yes, you need a Japanese encephalitis shot to travel in Southeast Asia. duh.

Finally, overheard in the Peyton Building coffee shop on election day:

First 25yo making sandwich: hey. it's election day. You voted, right?

Second 25yo making sandwich: no, not yet, but I will.

First: you better. (sidelong glance)

Second: I would have done it already but the ballot is just so confusing; I don't know what to pick.

First: That's why you use the Voters' Pamphlet; it lays it all out and tells you what the choices are.

Second: well, I did read the Voters' Pamphlet but it was so confusing; I couldn't understand what it all meant.

First: Like what for instance? (another longer sidelong glance)

Second: well, that guy who's running for mayor, you know the guy? The man?

First: yeeeees.

Second: He says he wants to lower taxes. But what does that mean? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the face of the electorate here in The 'Kan EWA.

The 'Kan EWA

Saturday, November 03, 2007

We're quite busy with some pesky painting projects here at Bellemaison, but not too busy to breath deep and savor the season. It's here. The quiet orange and gold time before the snow. We like this one. It's from Sophie Conran at Hope you like it, too.
Thanksgiving Pie

Ingredients (serves six)

1 lb. 12 oz. pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
½ tsp. dried red chili flakes
2 tsp. cumin seeds
3 tbsp. olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
7 oz. firm goat’s cheese, crumbled
2 tsp. fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
1 handful walnut halves
1 handful flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
5 oz. filo pastry
2 oz. butter, melted, or 3 tbsp. olive oil, for brushing the pastry

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place pumpkin pieces on nonstick cookie sheet.
3. Sprinkle with chili flakes, cumin seeds; drizzle with olive oil and coat well. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Cook in preheated oven 25-30 minutes or until pumpkin is tender and starting to brown. Remove from oven and leave to cool.
5. Once it’s cooled, place pumpkin in a bowl. Stir in goat’s cheese, sage, walnuts and parsley. Spoon mixture into a pie dish and set aside.
6. Brush both sheets of filo with melted butter or olive oil. Cover the top of the pie dish by lifting up each piece of filo in the centre with your thumb and index finger and placing it on top of the filling, making little crumpled hills.
7. Bake 20 minutes, until top is golden and center piping hot.

You know what they say: yum-o-la.

The 'Kan EWA

Thursday, November 01, 2007

I am a little cranky this morning because I didn't get much sleep at all last night. Promptly at the stroke of midnight, the Chows lit a candle, turned out the lights and Cleo began to read the entries in the Halloween Have a Go in his deep mellifluous voice. Earlier, Sylvie mixed up a big batch of the mulled wine we usually drink at Christmas and as the Chows had been sipping on it all evening, it didn't take them long to lapse into giggles once Cleo started with the "It was a ..... Halloween night."

When Do' gets tickled, she usually laughs so hard she rolls over on her side. At a point, she loses control, rolls over on her back and wrassles the carpet, all the while laughing so hard her black lips are pulled back, all her teeth show and she shakes all over as she beats the rug up with her back. There she is, all fours legs waving wildly in the air, laughing like a hyena. This is what kept waking me up! At a point, I went back downstairs for what was about the third or fourth time and all the lights were on and the Chows were all on their backs, laughing uncontrollably over something or another that Kendramama or Shinie wrote. God, how they love that Mike Kennedy. Anyway, they say these were the sterling moments in the batting order:

"Check out my ICE, bee-otch!" --Shinie

"Yo furball!" --grace

"Wear red socks and go as a Chow." --thomg (they went hysterical over this one)

"At home in felony flats." --toadman

"Heard the voice of Hilliary Clinton." --Bx Boy

"rumpled safari hat and Merrell's to go as Bob Tomlinson". --PDX Pup

"Larry Craig screamed and dropped his pants." --Eagle Eye

"Ill-fitting leisure suit and crocs and go as Walt Worthy." --John Austin

"This was going to be a serendipitous Halloween." --Kendramama

"Granati screamed and dropped his American Dolls magazine." --Granati

"drinking Hennessey." --In The Know

"rumped business shirt and Eccos to go as Jim Rivard." --Mama JD

But in the end, it was In The Know that took the night. They loved In The Know. They crave In The Know. They declare In The Know as The Grand Champion of the Halloween Have A Go. But they liked Shinie and Kendramama, too, so they declare it a three-way tie. Sometimes, they just can't come to a decision because tempers flare and then they start to fight and well, it's just not a good thing then. Just isn't. Fur and teeth and ...

So a three-way it is. They left me a note this morning tell me not to get them up as they had a late night and that they were going to be pretty busy now that Thanksgiving is on the radar. They have designated their good buddy daveo to be their registered agent and personal representative in this matter, so they are going to courier over three $50 bills to him to distribute to the winners. God Bless. Thanks for coming out. Drive safe.

The 'Kan EWA