Tag Archives: Pikes Market

Over Our Heads

Sometimes you just have to do something that is outside your comfort zone. “Do one thing a day that scares you” is written all over the Lululemon bags. I don’t know about you, but I always listen to my tote.

When my friend, Lynn, and I found that each of our submissions had been accepted for publication in “Minerva Rising,” a new literary journal for women, we thought, this is great. We’d show it to our families, mention it in our bio’s, and then it would retire to our shelves…. Or, we could throw a party! A perfect excuse in this case, as it’s the debut edition. And so, The Seattle Launch of Minerva Rising was born.

I’ve lost track of time, that was a few weeks back. Shortly after releasing electronic invitations to all the local literary illuminati we could think of, we lost control of it. With four or five files where there should have been one, we could never be certain of the count. (I knew I preferred paper invitations).

A few years ago on an island off Seattle, an ancient Japanese woman named Sally lived next door to me. Sally and I saw a lot of each other because both of us were always out, weather permitting, to garden, weed, clean up, and in the course of it, exchange conversation and plants. Sally owned a block-long warehouse in downtown Seattle, worth millions in real estate alone.  She and her husband had built up a wholesale floral business, after what I can only imagine may have been a period in internment. (She never mentioned that). Her husband passed away, and well into her nineties or hundreds Sally was retired and their daughter ran the business, but every now and then Sally insisted on going to the office “to be sure the money was flowing in the right direction.” I loved that line.

Well, Lynn and I may have lost count with our event, but acceptances have trickled in daily, assuring us everything was flowing in the right direction. The day before the event we will round up fresh flowers from Pikes Market (most likely from Sally’s warehouse), and arrange them. Lynn’s son will man the door, my husband will play bartender, and the Northwest Girlchoir will make an appearance at the event and sing a few songs. We will dim the lights, light candles, and pump in soft music when the girls aren’t singing. It will be a reunion of sorts among Goddard MFA alum and friends. We will treat our guests to readings, always our choice for entertainment at MFA residencies. And from our coast and our fair city, we will help, I hope, launch this new literary journal for women.

The editors are flying in from Atlanta, Georgia and Portland, Maine. They will stay at our house and we will drive them around town like dignitaries. The beds are made, steps are swept, and yesterday I added purple pansies to my window box. (Purple being the color of “Minerva Rising Literary Journal”). Afterall, it isn’t everyday one’s friends start a new publication. And it isn’t every day you get published in one. Soon we will pass the mark where we’ve done all that we can anticipate, and there will be nothing more to do but celebrate.



Filed under electronic invitations

Goodbye to a Market

Warning: I’m in a dirty rotten supermarket sort of mood.

A sad thing happened this week in our Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle: the dear little Metropolitan Market closed its doors. Let me say, Metropolitan Market was one of the reasons we moved here. We drew an area about six blocks around “The Ave” and confined our house hunt to that. The idea was to live where we would always walk to town, whatever the weather, and no matter how old we may grow to be. We had found our village in the city. “Why drive, when you can walk?” is our motto, and Metropolitan Market was central to our lifestyle.

Now I don’t know what is coming in, but I do know that recent development in town would have it that every block look the same. Metropolitan Market was different, mid-century architecture, impeccably kept, the staff most personable, produce you could trust to be organic (vs. the supermarket trick, or so I’ve heard, of replacing an empty organic bin with the other variety), and the foods they made, the soups, cioppino, sushi, Dungeness crab cakes, and bakery goods, splendid enough to go on the finest dining table. It was where we all placed our order for fresh turkeys every November, and could find quality kitchenware, chocolates, magazines, and even literary journals. Outside, a plant stand to rivel any street corner in Paris. Come to think about it, Metropolitan Market was our only local nursery too. Now I really am depressed.

Plus I have just come back from a very crowded Safeway where the music is sick, the loudspeakers are loud, the prepared food is fried and the like—although nobody eats like that except maybe the construction workers on their breaks (the ones who are tearing the town down). I don’t know who is employed at Safeway or where they come from, and as for the floral department, their way with plants is to dye phalaenopsis orchids blue.

I simply have to find a way around supermarkets. Something I can walk to, such as the bucolic farmers market on Thursdays. Come winter, move downtown and shop Pikes Market? Everything that is anything is so much further now and it’s time to go from carrying totes to using that cart I bought. A rainproof canvas shopping cart, bright red so cars can see me on gray days. I haven’t taken it out yet because I have some things to work out. My cart questions: do I push it or pull it? Do I push/pull it down the aisles and put the groceries I want to buy into my cart, and take them all out at the register, or will I look like I am shoplifting and be apprehended? Or should I fold up my cart and put it in the grocery’s shopping cart when I arrive?

Didn’t I know this would happen? A long time ago, after my first marriage fell apart, I lived in NYC for a year. I wish I could tell you it was marvelous: The Met! Lincoln Center! Central Park! But it wasn’t. Not that year. I was half crazy with a broken heart, and Central Park wasn’t even considered safe in the daytime. I don’t know if you could call it a phobia exactly, but I developed an irrational fear of bag ladies that year. Not a loathing, more of a trembling. An apprehension that it could happen to me. I knew that there had to be a story behind each and every one of these ladies, and my best guess was that some man had left her in the lurch. I am not sure if I ever got over this fear per se, but I up and moved to California. And now, here I am, thirty-something years later, further up the coast, and about to take up a cart myself. Didn’t I know it?


Filed under bag ladies