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blueshoefarm at gmail dot com.... and that would be how to reach me

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Kitsap County WA Part 1

When I was looking for a house with property to buy outside of Seattle... I drove throughout the surrounding towns and counties circling Seattle. I was looking for a community that WAS a community. Something that the developers did not decide the lay of the land, since for some reason greed wins out over "community" unless there are guidelines for density and requirements for infrastructure. In the last 20 years that seems to have been hucked out of the window of King County.
How I ended up in Kitsap is that it still has retained alot of it's rural nature. It has clear guidelines for density in city limits and outside. It was all written down which areas were slated for development, and they were near the city limits. Rather than checker-boarded allover the county. Which does not make happy rural property owners or development owners... since the reason people buy in a development may be so they don't have to look over a manure pile or have cows mooing next door. Ditto for rural residents. They may want the privacy so they can park as many derelict and dead cars as they want in their front yard and not worry about the neighbors complaining. Or raise pigs.
Over on the Seattle side of the water, former farmland areas to the north, east and south have been and are being filled with endless rows of quickly constructed developments with granite counters, spacious entry ways, walk-in closets and less expensive materials holding it all up.
I did research on rural density designations and development for all the counties I looked at. (and school data, crime data and community demographics) In Kitsap, we attended a meeting on zoning changes. The thing that struck me was the people in charge seem to be fresh outta school. I am all for school, but I think it takes a bit of life wisdom to take what you have learned in school all starry-eyed and dew-cheeked and roll it through the machine of real life, so it can get a semblance of what gritty reality is. Take your theories, actually live and work in the community, listen to the residents and business owners, imagine your county's role in a larger world....and then put something down on paper.
There is a bunch of development issues I have been watching with a keen eye. And it reminds me of the difficulty of the public process. More later....

Friday, January 28, 2011

Bears and kids

A long time ago I worked for the gift concessionaire at a zoo. When I saw this I both laughed my head off and was very happy for safety glass.

The subterranean bear/river otter house at the zoo where I worked was created with giant underwater glass you could see the animals when they were swimming. It was genius. It was also the one place I never wanted to be when the purported giant earthquake hit Seattle and broke that glass. Those bears are flippin' huge and put it all in perspective what a puny & defenseless species we are. Albeit with big brains, so we can design enclosures that keep us safe and separate from captured wild animals that wish to eat our head off.
Image courtesy Reddit, via

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thursday Weather

It was a foggy day today. The mountain view is what I get to see on my way home. The clouds are hanging low over Hood Canal (toward the bottom of the pic), part of Puget Sound. I would not want to be a boater in that heavy goo. I could hear the fog horns. Nuclear subs go through those waters, too.

Ma at the Michigan Auto Show

My mom said she and friends took a field trip to the auto show. They had to jump in the air while the 3D camera took their pic. This is the lady who has two new hips. I forecast she will be playing center in basketball in no time with this jump. (Hi Ma)

Parenting - Letting Go

Rose had a sleepover before the school dance last weekend. She and her friend came bounding down the stairs...all chipper and happy. They were going to dye Rose's friends hair, could they dye Rose's too?
This has been simmering a long time. The kids "nowadays" (love saying that, makes me feel like such an old codger) change their hair color with the cycles of the moon. Rose has been asking me to color her hair. I know I have a non-neutral eye, but her hair color has always been lovely to me so I always deferred.
But I knew something like this was coming. And, after repeatedly giving her all the dire warnings, and then letting her hear it in a phone call with gal pal professional hair colorist extraordinaire, she chose to dye her hair. The goal was blond top, black underneath. And friend's hair was black top, blond underneath. I was cringing inside. But you know what? This sort of stuff has to happen. We can rant and ramble and lecture and 'model' behavior, but there are just some things that kids need to figure out on their own. It is not always the same thing... my daughter happened to have hair coloring as her venture out of the safety net this time.
I did not say no. I told her possible consequences, and that I would kill them both if they got dye on my new bathroom floor... and then let 'em go.
The color turned out orange in spots, bleach bottle blond in a circle on the top and uneven. She was a bit traumatized. But not in a bad way.
When her friend had fallen asleep under her own black-purple new hair, Rose came back downstairs. "Why weren't you a strict mom and absolutely forbid me from doing this if you knew it was going to be turn out orange and splotchy?" We talked about learning things for yourself vs. hearing something over and over again and it not making sense. We talked about choices. It is hard for me to let them figure stuff out on their own, when there are unpleasant consequences. This was a very very gentle consequence, one that was traumatic (for a dramatic teen), but not permanent nor dangerous.
The next day we got a brown hair dye. That night, they went to the dance and had a great time.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Driver's Education

We went to drivers education orientation for Rose. Last night, I had a dream she was driving a jumbo jet cross-country. With instructions on how to fly from the air traffic control tower. Coincidence? I think not.
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