Norwegian Day Is Not My Favorite Day

**My personal opinion only, and I live and let live*** Today is Norwegian Day, or something like that, and here in Ballard we have some big Norwegian Day parade that has been in existence as far back as I remember (1970s).  I am half Norwegian, so you’d think I’d like this day, but in all honesty I don’t.  When I think of Italians, I think of shouting and hugging and good food and family, when I think of Irish I think pubs and stories and green, but when I think of Norway I remember all the depressed, cranky, sarcastic Norwegians in my childhood and the cranky Norwegians I encountered on my one day trip to Oslo.  Maybe it was the neighborhood, or maybe it was just the Norwegians I knew, but the Norwegian Day Parade does not conjure fond memories for me — I am much more proud of my Scottish and Irish blood (albiet it is a very small percentage of my heritage). 

Norwegian Day Is Not My Favorite Day

It is Daughter L’s Senior Skip Day :)

I was worried Daughter L was oversleeping today but it turns out it is senior skip day at her school :). I remember my senior skip day, 31 years ago (:() — I played golf.  THat was just a few weeks after Jack Nicklaus had surprised the golf world by winning the Masters in his 40s.  That was the year I loved golf so much I golfed 3 times a week (walked on as a single on Friday, Saturday and Sunday) and I was starting to play well enough that the golf coach asked if I’d consider playing golf, not realizing I was a senior.  Funny how much I loved it then – I don’t feel that way at all now.  I don’t know how you can have soo much passion for something then none at all.  

It is Daughter L’s Senior Skip Day :)

Childhood acquaintance battling cancer

P was a kid from another neighborhood but who’d we bump into from time to time in sports.  THere were a million such kids who were long ago forgotten but P was memorable because he was a plus-sized kid (had metabolic issues) who was a fantastic athlete.  He scored every point on his basketball team because of a deadly shot and hit long home runs in little-league baseball.  When we were adults we played softball with him; he was still plus-sized and still a great athlete – he was a great infielder and hit long towering home runs once or twice every game.  Later, he helped lead another team to a state softball championship…  He wasn’t a happy-go-lucky guy, but *was* easy going and pleasant to be around, and I never remember him being angry or frustrated, not once… Just learned he is battling cancer that is likely terminal.  Bleh.  And double bleh.

Childhood acquaintance battling cancer

Kenny Easley — my favorite Seahawk and possibly my favorite football player of all time – nominated for the Hall of Fame

Growing up in a family of Seahawks fans in the 70s and 80s, there were three things I always looked forward to on Sundays: how many yards would Curt Warner rush for, how many receptions would Steve Largent have, and just watching Kenny Easley play. I loved Kenny Easley.  He was so fast and so smart and so good, and it seemed like he was always around the ball, and it was as much fun to watch him play in Seattle in the 80s as it was to watch Ken Griffey Jr. play centerfield in the 90s. So I am thrilled he was at last nomiated to the Hall of Fame.  Possibly the only other player I enjoyed watching play as much was John Elway, which is funny to think about since I was a Seahawks fan… If I could pick any NFL player to watch play again on any given Sunday, it would be Kenny Easley in the kingdome or John Elway in mile high stadium.  

Kenny Easley — my favorite Seahawk and possibly my favorite football player of all time – nominated for the Hall of Fame

Liked riding through the old neighborhood today

Like most kids, I liked Halloween time, most of all the thoughts of haunted houses. October is also one of the few times I like dark, cloudy days. So it was fun today to ride my bike through the old neighborhood today to return some movies, especially since today is rather cloudy.  It reminded me of Octobers during my grade school days. Generally, I don’t reminisce about childhood, but October is one of those times )

Liked riding through the old neighborhood today

Strange vivid dreams last two nights

Two nights ago, I dreamed about my old neighborhood in Ballard, except the homes behind us sat on a rise and they were large opulent houses, like something you might find in pockets of Magnolia and Capitol Hill.  In my dream, my parents were living in that area behind our house, and for some reason we kept trying to head there to visit, but despite ts close proximity were running into problems such as two dogs that kept getting in front of our car.  There was also a woman there about our age who didn’t like me, kept calling me obnoxious, which hurt my feelings… I always have haunting/strange dreams about the areas surrounding my childhood home (in the past few months, the area above the Locks was a wooded hill, the land behind us sat on a hard to reach point, and many times in my life I’ve dreamed the gulley at the end of the block was a dangerous jungle/forest), so that wasn’t unusual. I believe the person who didn’t like me was a girl from my childhood, E, who always found my hyperactivity annoying; she and I never really hung out or talked, but had mutual friends plus attended school together, so we saw each other often. I remember in our tween years she was always making sarcastic comments around me and she lived in that area in my dream, so I suspect she made a random appearance there.  I have not seen her or thought of her other than in passing in over 30 years — strange how that happens 🙂

Last night, I dreamed I was on the bus from downtown, which I dream about sometimes.  The route was a long meandering one that my dream concocted, and there were two hipster guys (random people generated by my dream) who were sitting back by me, yakking it up and passing out treats from their deli.  I ended up at a local pre-school, and I was supposed to join the school on a local field trip to the zoo, which was downtown in my dream, but we stopped for cupcakes first; I was concerned because I forgot to check in at the front desk and didn’t want them to think I was a stranger, so checked in with one of the teachers and was told that the person who had sponsored me was sick that day but I was welcome to join them another time, which I declined and left, but as I was leaving I was concerned because the school bus (which looked like a train) had pulled out in front of a car and nearly been hit, so I was worried about the driver’s ability to keep the kids safe.  Then the dream switched and I was in our car with wife M, abd we were trying to drive up Queen Anne but having a difficult time of it, because first an older couple in front of us was driving way too slow, then they got behind a small car pulling a boat up the hill so it was even slower going, and I was really frustrated, complainingn about people who drive too slow and don’t pull over to let other cars by and also about people who walk out in street instead of using sidewalks.  Then the car in front of us lost some of its boat supplies, so we got out to collect them but the people kept going so I was telling M we should just keep them. WHile we were stopped, we got pulled into a strange party that was a mixture of cake baking and a mystery theater and a costume party, and I was worried in my dream that the party was going to get really weird.  It was a strange dream, and I was glad when the dream ended 🙂

Strange vivid dreams last two nights

Watched Goldfinger for the first time — and loved it.

I have seen bits and pieces of Goldfinger over the years, but never watched it end to end.  What I always remember, of course, is Oddjob’s hat and my friends giggling about Pussy Galore when the show was on TV.  But we watched it end-to-end last night, and it is truly one of the more entertaining of the James Bond films, and probably in my Top 5 for favorite ones (the Top 3 would be 3 of the 4 of the James Craig movies, and I have a fondness for For Your Eyes Only since it was the first Bond film I watched in entirety).  But it was one of the more complicated (but strangely believable) Bond films, and COnnery does a superb job in it (he is confident but also has a few moments of genuine nervousness). I also love the villains: Goldfinger, Oddjob and Pussy Galore are wonderful characters.  What a shame I had not watched it until now, but then again, it was a great way to sepdn the evening last night.

Note: I was a late James Bond bloomer.  I was 14 before I ever heard of him, partially because I didn’t watch a lot of TV or movies as a kid, since I was so darn restless all the time.  Most of the TV I saw as a kid were sitcoms (Taxi, MASH, Barney Miller, All in the Family) that my parents watched in the evening, since I could play (usually action figures) while they watched in the final hour before bedtime.  I was about 13 when I started really watching movies, and watched For Your Eyes Only with a group of friends on cable TV in our basement.

Watched Goldfinger for the first time — and loved it.

Dreamt about Government Locks and Sunset Hill

I don’t recall the plot of my dream last night, but do remember the setting: Sunset Hill near the locks was a tall forested hill with an inn sitting atop it, and the Ballard Locks behind it was more like a very long park as opposed to a locks.  I have dreamt before that Sunset Hill is more of a wildnerness park setting with a hard-to-access point on the far right (almost like West Seattle) and that the locks are less about locks and more about a very long (left to right) park…  

Regarding Sunset Hill having a point, my paperroute as a kid used to take me down past the railroad bridge to a road that ran for a single isolated block, dropping down to the railroad tracks level.  There were perhaps 5 or 6 houses along that street, with a row of trees on one side (witht he railroad tracks behind those trees) and the houses on the other (the houses were on a bluff, with the channel and bay below, so must have had a splendid view). By the time I reachd the last house, the road was practically at the tracks just before they turned to run over a long draw bridge, so it was a very isolated spot, almost like a point.  I think in my dreams I convert those houses (and especially the last house) to a point.

It was actually an intimidating stretch of the route.  I was isolated, with a lot of bushes, and there were a fair number of homeless people who rode the trains and lived near the tracks in those days (and maybe still do, I don’t know), so I was usually on high alert when I was on that section of my route.  My dad had warned me, too, since he himself had been chased by three homeless men as a kid when he was on those same tracks.  

IMPORTANT NOTE: This journal is meant in no way to imply that all homeless people are dangerous (how many would-be child molestors probably lived in houses in my neighborhood? Maybe a few).  But it was an intimidating section 🙂

Dreamt about Government Locks and Sunset Hill

Son R has had a busy week of college

Son R marched in his first half-time show for his college marching band on Saturday, then attended his first college party later that evening (I loved that he left his car at home, bussed there and took a taxi back).  Then he registered for his first classes today.  Exciting!

My first day of college was September 29, 1986 and I remember it like it was yesterday.  Chris Chandler was quarterback of the UW Huskies (who a week or two earlier had trounced a powerful Ohio State team), and my first class was English 101 at 7:30 AM.  I can’t say I’d like to go back to my freshman year of college, but at the time I felt like I had my whole world ahead of me.  I really liked my Sophomore and Junior Years in college, probably because I spent too much time on the social part and not enough on the academics.  In fact, I was put on academic probation following a 1.8 GPA (I was a 3.95 after my freshman year) which honestly was a miracle it was that high — I had to beg my Essay professor for a D rather than an F after skipping nearly the entire quarter.  

Hopefully my son will not follow my example.  But I’d tried so hard to be a good kid in a fairly strict and somewhat stressful (busy) household, so honestly just needed to get some things out of my system for a year or two before returning back to my “good” ways. I’ve been pretty mellow, a light drinker/partier and avoided trouble ever since.

Son R has had a busy week of college

I was 7 when we rode bikes down into Ballard for the first time

When I was a kid, Ballard was an industrial neighborhood.  It had shipyards, machine ships and a railyard along the borders of the town, and most kids I knew had a dad who was a fisherman, machinist, dock worker or the like.  These families were by no means rich, but a longshoreman in those days made a living wage, and these families had a house in the city. But the kids were pretty rough around the edges, coming from blue collar homes and all.  Plus, it was the 1970s and divorce was a fad, which meant a lot of kids had divorced parents.  So although it was not a ghetto or tough blue collar areas like I’d imagine there to be in Philadelphia or Queens, it was a rough around the edges place.

When I was in grade school, after school and summers we were at J’s house. J was  a lady who ran a daycare out of her house, and there were often a dozen or more kids of all ages roaming the two story house and expansive backyard.  One of those kids was her own kid W, who was two years older than I, but we’d hang out together.  W had a friend who would come over once in awhile.  One summer day when I was 7, we decided to ride our bikes down into the far side of Ballard to visit a small candy shop that W liked.  We’d be passing busy sreets and a few rail lines, so J wanted me to ask my parents, and that night my parents said it would be fine.  So, the next day we were off…

This was 1975.  Elvis was still alive and in the news, Richard Nixon had only resigned just a year earlier, America was departing Viet Nam, and no one had heard the name Michael Jordan or Luke Skywalker.  But I knew nothing about any of these things.  I was only in the moment of being in Ballard with my two friends. 

I wore shorts, old sneakers without socks and rode a bike so old that one of the pedals had come off so only the thin metal bar remained for my foot.  It took most of the day to ride down there and back, and I remember laughing and talking much of the way like kids do.  Ballard was not crowded then, and most people were working, so we saw primarily old ladies and a few old cars. But more than anything else, what I remember is the freedom of that day, and the thrill of going on a long distance bike ride without adults. 

I was 7 when we rode bikes down into Ballard for the first time