In Spite of Everything: Joy

Red | ©

By Marilyn Zuckerman

I find myself at Skagit Bay
on a glorious sunny day—
following weeks of leaden skies
and much needed rain,
watching a pair of red-tailed hawks,
one settling into a tree
spreading his wings,
showing his tail
while his mate’s out playing with the thermals,
two eagles guarding their huge cradle-shaped
nest at the top of a tree.
Now another hawk
makes for our windshield,
sailing away just in time
over fallow fields,
end of the season pumpkins,
the futile search for snow geese
and the empty road.
Finally we chase the sunset
through traffic down route 5
all the way home to Carkeek Park
to watch its glowing plunge into the Sound,
the light reflecting
upon the deep red maple before us.

Puget Sunset | ©


So strong it knocked me over as we stepped out of the car. We could hear the seals barking over the noisy white caps; and there a small sailboat, its crew of one sitting deep in the gunnels, knowing one pitch would plunge him into the freezing water.

Seagulls struggling against the gale while hang gliders, rising and falling, ride the thermals one moment, the next dunked, dangling into the sea only to be dragged to the shore.

Walkers wrapped in rain gear, scarves and ear muffs—one brave mom pushing a baby carriage completely covered by a red blanket stopping only to adjust the cover while she turns her back to the wind and resumes texting.

·    ·    ·

Wherever we are these days, weather has become central to our consciousness as we become aware of the extreme turns it has taken. Floods, droughts, fierce storms and sometimes, just constant rains are hard to ignore.

As a result, I have been working on a long sequence of poems about the weather.

The two you find here are examples of that.

One expresses the impact of a rare sunny day that lifts the mood and sends flocks of birds on the move. The other poem reflects the violent presence of a windy day.

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Need Help Getting Garbage Cans to the Curb?


Good news!

The City of Seattle collectors of garbage, yard waste and recycling can go to your backyard (or wherever you store your cans) and get them for you!

All you have to do is call SPU Customer Service at 206.684.3000 and tell them you need “Carts-to-Curb” Help.

The additional fee for this service may be waived if all of the following apply to you:

1. Have curbside collection
2. Are unable to take your garbage, yard waste or recycling to the curb or alley for collection due to mental or physical disabilities or health problems (medical verification may be required)
3. Have no one living in the home who can assist you
4. Have a yard with challenging terrain or landscaping

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Two Fun Events This Weekend!


Please join us for one or both events this Sunday:

Village New Member Orientation
Sunday, January 17th
GSC West Room

A chance for Village members to get acquainted, or reacquainted, with the Village’s offerings and meet the Village staff and other members. After the orientation, join us upstairs for our quarterly potluck!

Your RSVP is appreciated at

Village Quarterly Potluck: High Tea
Sunday, January 17th
GSC Greenwood Room

Great company, tea, and tiny sandwiches! Bring your favorite teatime treat (sweet or savory) and get to know your fellow Village members and volunteers. Our own Guy Smith will treat us to Renaissance music on period instruments. Coffee and tea will be provided.

If you know what you’d like to bring, please let us know! Your RSVP is appreciated at

If you are a Full Village Member and need a ride, please contact the Village at (206) 789-1217 to request your ride as soon as possible.

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Have You Seen Our New Events and Activities Page?

By Marguerite Langlois

Now you can see all the Village events and activities together on one page on our Village website. Use it to plan ahead, to not miss any of your favorite activities, and to try new ones! We’re also including key Greenwood Senior Center events; there are many interesting, informative, and fun things happening at GSC. (GSC events are open to all and many are free; Village membership includes member prices for paid GSC events.) Go to You can also find the page in the left column list from any page on the Village website: New this fall: look for special events cosponsored by both the Village and GSC.

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Junk Mail

By Voyager Creative on Vimeo

Junk Mail

98-year-old Mary reminds us that people her age are sometimes forgotten, but still very much alive.

Mary After the Senior Center

Voyager on Facebook:
Watch “Junk Mail” video on Vimeo:

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Regarding “The Working Class at Herkimer Coffee”

By Duke


the working class at herkimer coffeeYour picture of the corner café says it all. First off, I think you’re too hard on the harder generation. Your posit—that things have only gotten worse—is arguable. Hitler and the Fascists were taken down, along with the Iron Curtain. Today, more people live on the planet with more individual rights and dignity than at any time in human history. That, because of courageous folks like MLK, Gandhi, Dorothea Dix, Walter Reuther, Mandela, etc. When I locked myself in my San Francisco apartment for one year in 1983 to study the philosophers, I came across an ancient Greek or Hindu God who believed in the cosmic duality of all life. That for every negative there was its dialectical opposite: a positive. Thus, to put it plainly, for every tragedy—at the same exact second—a wonderful creation blossoms, whether it’s falling in love, holding your baby for the first time, or just chuckling wordlessly with a old friend. (I think this is where Nietzsche was before that fateful day in Milan when he lost his mind). And this is how I stayed centered.

Secondly, when I look harder at the younger generation, so welded to their tech gizmos, with nobody talking or looking at each other, I feel only the loneliness of a crowded NYC subway car. When my generation returned from our poverty-laden Grand Tours of Europe in the mid-70’s, cafés almost immediately sprang up all over Berkeley and San Francisco’s outer suburbs, mirroring the café culture of Paris, SF’s North Beach, and NYC’s Greenwich Village. What was striking was the community one found there with political and cultural conversation. At times, one found friendship. One didn’t have to join a formal monthly book club because all the important books were being discussed—informally—at the café table. It would’ve been rude to bring a typewriter to a café, not because of the noise but because it would be such a Private Action in a place of Public Interaction. Now I only go to a café when you and I meet every once in awhile, because I know I’m promised a public interaction, or to put it plainly, a conversation. Otherwise, I seek conversation in other locales or do without. I think Johnson and Boswell would have a stroke if they saw how their tea/café culture of public interaction has disappeared into lonely, private computer cells. As Sartre would say, “It’s nauseating.”


·    ·    ·

Editor’s note: PNA Village author Dick Gillett’s most recent post, “The Working Class at Herkimer Coffee”, generated the above response from a reader friend. Dick’s numerous articles for our Village blog include, “Martín’s Journey to the White House”“Johnny Cash & Global Warming”, and “Monthly Book Group at Couth Buzzard”, and we hope to hear more from Duke in the future!

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The Garden

Colette Highberger | Zuckerman Residence III

By Marilyn Zuckerman

Just Dreaming
for Colette

The crushed rock walks
wander here and there
the bright autumn Japanese Maple trees
bend over the path—
and there the different grasses.
In the distance Puget Sound shimmers
against the white-shrouded Olympics behind
and friends
in the quiet garden.

Colette Highberger | Zuckerman Residence I

Sunday in the Garden

Now the birds arrive,
and skimming through the garden
as though on urgent errands.
Most are hummingbirds,
those nimble acrobats
whirling overhead.
Then a swarm of bumble bees,
saved from extinction,
buzzing and sipping
—and butterflies too
attracted to this new habitat
—refugees from the holocaust.

Colette Highberger | Zuckerman Residence II

Colette in the Garden

Colette in blue,
over the blue Lobelias,
looking like a flower herself.

·    ·    ·

One thing to know about this superb garden is that it has evolved mightily from its original plan. At first I thought I wanted a walking path for exercise, meditation and the culling of ideas for poems—like Darwin’s sand walk. Then three things happened.

  1. Colette read a book about a Japanese garden and passed it on to me.
  2. I saw photos of Zen gardens in Kyoto.
  3. A team was assembled consisting of Louise Wright, architect and designer for the house reconstruction, Clint Ceder, carpenter and creator of the trellis and gates, Colette Highberger, landscape designer and gardener—and me.

Next, Louise and I visited Kubota Gardens in downtown Seattle and it became a model for ours. Since we had begun to think environmentally, the vision for the garden expanded to one with less grass, more Pacific Northwest drought-resistant plants, and crushed rock paths and huge rocks set within a Japanese scenario.

After Louise drew preliminary plans and Colette fleshed them out and began the planting with the support of Usiel Lopez (2nd gardener), Jaswinder Singh of A and J Retaining Walls gathered rocks large and small and with his team dug trenches for the paths and placed the huge quarry rocks in their proper place. The result is what you see today—a
garden not only lovely to behold, but environmentally green and already a habitat for bees, birds and butterflies.

The Upright Construction Team

Brian Highberger: Head Coach and Master Builder
Louise Wright: Residential designer and overall design coordinator, who worked with me to help create my dream house
Mary-lynn Ballew: Interior designer—another magician
Colette Highberger: Landscape designer and garden visionary
Robert Mitton: Master Craftsman
Ron Horne: Foreman and primary contact man
( Both Robert and Ron checked out final details on the project—commonly known as the Punch List, and spent about 2 weeks at my house on that task thus allowing us to become good friends).
Marty Walz, Captain (demolition)
Dillon Baker: Demolition
Austin Thompson: Demolition (and framing)
Marty Walz: Demolition
Steve Bell: Painter and poet
Clint Ceder: My ambassador to the team and detail man

Everyone did extra duty and extended themselves in order to find and use only non-toxic materials from paint, finishes, window trim, and closet doors in order to provide a truly Green house. My gratitude to all.

These poems form the sixth and final installment in a sequence about the construction of my home—read the first hereRead the second here, the third here, the fourth here, and the fifth here.

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The Working Class at Herkimer Coffee

The Working Class at Herkimer Coffee II (
By Dick Gillett

Stephen bent over his loom, quiet, watchful and steady. A special contrast, as every man was, in the forest of looms where Stephen worked, to the crashing, smashing, tearing piece of machinery at which he labored.
—From Hard Times, by Charles Dickens

It’s 9:01 on a Wednesday morning as I enter Herkimer Coffee up on Phinney Ridge for my usual caffeine fix. Along the shop’s left wall, an array of people sit at tables, coffee cups within reach, laptops open, heads down—as if the factory whistle just blew and the working class had filed in and bent over their machines.

In contrast, as a “retired worker” I mosey in and take my “work station” in front of barista Chad, who sees me and reaches for the macchiato cup; he knows my drink.
In casual conversation, he and Sean, the other barista on duty, both reveal they grew up as only children, which was my also my situation. (Naturally we understand this makes us special).

This brief palaver serves to lighten me up a bit after reading the print edition (I’m afraid I’m a print news junkie) of The New York Times. The paper continues to tell us about the unending crisis of refuges flooding into Europe, Putin’s Russian jets now in Syria, and the latest special absurdity of much of our domestic political news.

The Working Class at Herkimer Coffee (

Of course the laptop “working class” image above is my fantasy. But in my mind, it serves to separate me from my fellow human beings of the succeeding generations. (For instance I don’t have a laptop and only clumsily use instant messaging.) But as it frequently does, the sight of younger people at Herkimer’s—busily working away (or goofing off)—fills me with a certain longing. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could have an intergenerational dialogue? An honest-to-goodness dialogue about our insane world, inasmuch as we are all bound together as citizens traveling on Planet Earth?

On the other hand, there would be those who with much justification—seeing as how we of the older generations have screwed up pretty much everything—would say, “And what do you, old-timer, have to tell us to our edification?” My response might be, “And how do you, one or two generations removed from me, see yourself and your families, especially your children, in relation to our current and future world?”

Could a starting point be a reflection on Pope Francis’ recent visit to the U.S.? I hear that there are intergenerational dialogues going on here and there on such topics, some even within reach of our Phinney Neighborhood Association. Might our own PNA Village be a catalyst for such?

·    ·    ·

Author Dick Gillett is a Member of PNA Village and a retired Episcopal priest. He has written numerous articles for our Village blog including, “Martín’s Journey to the White House”“Johnny Cash & Global Warming”, and “Monthly Book Group at Couth Buzzard”.

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Disaster Planning for Your Pets – Part II: Emergency Checklists

“Creating an Emergency Kit for a Dog” checklist, courtesy PNA Village partner Mud Bay.

Please visit your local Mud Bay for free emergency kit checklists for both cats and dogs.

Mud Bay Emergency Checklist-Dog

Mud Bay Emergency Checklist P2-Dog

Disaster Planning for Your Pets – Part I:

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Disaster Planning for Your Pets – Part I

September is Disaster Preparedness Month, and those of us with companion animals should have plans for their safety as well as our own. The following article from ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) is an in-depth and helpful look at how to do just this.

This is the first of two posts. The second post will include a handy “Creating an Emergency Kit for a Dog” checklist courtesy of our local Village partner Mud Bay.

(Reblogged courtesy ASPCA)

ASPCA logoEmergencies come in many forms, and they may require anything from a brief absence from your home to permanent evacuation. Each type of disaster requires different measures to keep your pets safe. The best thing you can do for yourself and your pets is to be prepared.

Step 1: Get a Rescue Alert Sticker

This easy-to-use sticker will let people know that pets are inside your home. Make sure it is visible to rescue workers, and that it includes 1) the types and number of pets in your household; 2) the name of your veterinarian; and 3) your veterinarian’s phone number. If you must evacuate with your pets, and if time allows, write “EVACUATED” across the stickers.

magnet-stickerTo get a free emergency pet alert sticker for your home, please fill out our online order form; please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery. Your local pet supply store may also sell similar stickers.

Step 2: Arrange a Safe Haven

Arrange a safe haven for your pets in the event of evacuation. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND. Remember, if it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets. They may become trapped or escape and be exposed to numerous life-threatening hazards. Note that not all Red Cross disaster shelters accept pets, so it is imperative that you have determined where you will bring your pets ahead of time:

  • Contact your veterinarian for a list of preferred boarding kennels and facilities.
  • Ask your local animal shelter if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets.
  • Identify hotels or motels outside of your immediate area that accept pets.
  • Ask friends and relatives outside your immediate area if they would be willing to take in your pet.

Step 3: Emergency Supplies and Traveling Kits

Keep an Evac-Pack and supplies handy for your pets. Make sure that everyone in the family knows where it is. This kit should be clearly labeled and easy to carry. Items to consider keeping in or near your pack include:

  • Pet first-aid kit and guide book [ ask your vet what to include, and/or visit ASPCA to learn how to make a DIY pet first-aid kit ]
  • 3-7 days’ worth of canned (pop-top) or dry food (be sure to rotate every two months)
  • Disposable litter trays (aluminum roasting pans are perfect)
  • Litter or paper toweling
  • Liquid dish soap and disinfectant
  • Disposable garbage bags for clean-up
  • Pet feeding dishes
  • Extra collar or harness as well as an extra leash
  • Photocopies of medical records and a waterproof container with a two-week supply of any medicine your pet requires (Remember, food and medications need to be rotated out of your emergency kit—otherwise they may go bad or become useless.)
  • Bottled water, at least 7 days’ worth for each person and pet (store in a cool, dry place and replace every two months)
  • A traveling bag, crate or sturdy carrier, ideally one for each pet
  • Flashlight
  • Blanket (for scooping up a fearful pet)
  • Recent photos of your pets (in case you are separated and need to make “Lost” posters)
  • Especially for cats: Pillowcase or EvackSack, toys, scoopable litter
  • Especially for dogs: Extra leash, toys and chew toys, a week’s worth of cage liner.

You should also have an emergency kit for the human members of the family. Items to include: Batteries, duct tape, flashlight, radio, multi-tool, tarp, rope, permanent marker, spray paint, baby wipes, protective clothing and footwear, extra cash, rescue whistle, important phone numbers, extra medication and copies of medical and insurance information.

Step 4: Choose “Designated Caregivers”

This step will take considerable time and thought. When choosing a temporary caregiver, consider someone who lives close to your residence. He or she should be someone who is generally home during the day while you are at work or has easy access to your home. A set of keys should be given to this trusted individual. This may work well with neighbors who have pets of their own—you may even swap responsibilities, depending upon who has accessibility.

When selecting a permanent caregiver, you’ll need to consider other criteria. This is a person to whom you are entrusting the care of your pet in the event that something should happen to you. When selecting this “foster parent,” consider people who have met your pet and have successfully cared for animals in the past. Be sure to discuss your expectations at length with a permanent caregiver, so he or she understands the responsibility of caring for your pet.

Step 5: Evacuation Preparation

If you must evacuate your home in a crisis, plan for the worst-case scenario. If you think you may be gone for only a day, assume that you may not be allowed to return for several weeks. When recommendations for evacuation have been announced, follow the instructions of local and state officials. To minimize evacuation time, take these simple steps:

  • Store an emergency kit and leashes as close to an exit as possible.
  • Make sure all pets wear collars and tags with up-to-date identification. Your pet’s ID tag should contain his name, telephone number, and any urgent medical needs. Be sure to write your pet’s name, your name and contact information on your pet’s carrier.
  • The ASPCA recommends microchipping your pet as a more permanent form of identification. A microchip is implanted in the animal’s shoulder area, and can be read by scanner at most animal shelters.
  • Always bring pets indoors at the first sign or warning of a storm or disaster. Pets can become disoriented and wander away from home during a crisis.
  • Consider your evacuation route and call ahead to make arrangements for boarding your pet outside of the danger zone at the first sign of disaster.

Step 6: Geographic and Climatic Considerations

Do you live in an area that is prone to certain natural catastrophes, such as tornadoes, earthquakes or floods? If so, you should plan accordingly.

  • Determine well in advance which rooms offer safe havens. These rooms should be clear of hazards such as windows, flying debris, etc.
  • Choose easy-to-clean areas such as utility rooms, bathrooms, and basements as safe zones.
  • Access to a supply of fresh water is particularly important. In areas that may lose electricity, fill up bathtubs and sinks ahead of time to ensure that you have access to water during a power outage or other crises.
  • In the event of flooding, go to the highest location in your home, or a room that has access to counters or high shelves where your animals can take shelter.

If emergency officials recommend that you stay in your home, it’s crucial that you keep your pets with you. Keep your Evac-Pack and supplies close at hand. Your pets may become stressed during the in-house confinement, so you may consider crating them for safety and comfort.

Special Considerations for Birds

  • Birds should be transported in a secure travel cage or carrier.
  • In cold weather, make certain you have a blanket over your pet’s cage. This may also help reduce the stress of traveling.
  • In warm weather, carry a spray bottle to periodically moisten your bird’s feathers.
    Have recent photos available, and keep your bird’s leg bands on for identification.
  • If the carrier does not have a perch, line it with paper towels that you can change frequently.
  • Keep the carrier in as quiet an area as possible.
  • It is particularly imperative that birds eat on a daily basis, so purchase a timed feeder. If you need to leave your bird unexpectedly, the feeder will ensure his daily feeding schedule.
  • Items to keep on hand: Catch net, heavy towel, blanket or sheet to cover cage, cage liner.

Special Considerations for Reptiles

  • A snake may be transported in a pillowcase, but you should have permanent and secure housing for him when you reach a safe place.
  • Take a sturdy bowl that is large for your pet to soak in. It’s also a good idea to bring along a heating pad or other warming device, such as a hot water bottle.
  • Lizards can be transported like birds (see above).

Special Considerations for Small Animals

  • Small animals, such as hamsters, gerbils, mice and guinea pigs, should be transported in secure carriers with bedding materials, food and food bowls.
  • Items to keep on hand: Salt lick, extra water bottle, small hidebox or tube, a week’s worth of bedding.

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