All week long I have wanted to sit down and write a post or two.  I’ve had ideas and updates swirling in my head, beginnings of posts jotted down in bus-jumbly scrawl in my notebook.  And here I sit on Sunday night, with nothing to say.  Seriously, I do have things to say.  But for some reason, my mind is just drawing a blank tonight.

So instead, how about a few pictures?

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I feel like this picture pretty much sums up the weekend.  Asher wanting to know “how does it work?”, Silas flirting with whoever isn’t holding him.  Love it!

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All weekend long, Silas was working hard on standing up.  It would take him a good minute or two, but when he was up, he was so proud of himself!  Hooray!

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I just absolutely adore this family.  Seriously.

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What a grand pair of godmothers!  I don’t know that we could ask for cuter, sweeter godsons!

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Women in Black

Every time a homeless person is found dead outside or dies by violence in King County, WHEEL (a homeless women’s organizing effort) and the Church of Mary Magdalene (an ecumenical day ministry) mobilize for our silent witnessing vigil called Women in Black.

Today, we stand  in honor and memory of Patrick “Pat” Vanstelle, 49, who was found dead at Gasworks Park on June 16th.  The cause of his death is not yet known.  At the request of his friend, who was there when Pat’s body was discovered in Gasworks Park, has requested that we hold a “cleansing ritual,” which will also be held today.

At least 16 people have died outdoor/violent deaths in Seattle already this year.

(Taken from the Women in Black press release)

This weekend is my 10 year high school reunion.  I am not going.  I didn’t much care for high school when I was there.  The people pretty much annoyed and/or bored me, and I was basically ready to high-tail it out of PC as soon as I threw my cap.  I had a few really good friends from high school, all 3 of who I still keep in touch with fairly regularly. But the roughly 500 other people I graduated with?  I honestly have little desire to spend $65 just to crowd into a room, trying to place nice and act like they really cared who I was 10 years ago.   (or for that matter, that they care who I am today)  Wait, did I say $65?  That’s just the entrance fee.  That doesn’t include the plane ticket home.  If we weren’t friends in high school, if I don’t talk to you now, no way I’m going to PAY to talk to you now.  Just silly.

But still.  It is my 10 year high school reunion this weekend.  And that makes me feel a little old.  I can remember being in high school, hearing other people talk about their 10 year reunion and thinking they were so old.  I feel like they definitely had to have been older than I am now.  No way 27 is old enough to have a 10 year reunion.  But then, I guess it really is.

I may sound a little harsh here.  It isn’t that I hated high school, per say.  It is just that I didn’t enjoy it that much.  I liked my classes and the majority of my teachers.  And I was involved in various activities, I went to all the football games and prom.  I made the most of it while I was there.  But there was never a moment of my entire high school career that I didn’t see my time in high school for what it was – a stepping stone to get somewhere else.  I knew that the best way to get out of PC (which is a lovely city – I don’t mean to be knocking it, it just isn’t the place for me), was to graduate well and get into a good college.  Besides, most of my friends were not from school.  The people I most often hung out with were from church, and they were all a couple of years older than me.  High school was fine, but nothing worth reunioning about. (yes, I totally just made that word up)

Not to mention that I have a much more important, and much cuter engagement this weekend.  I’ll be seeing my beautiful godson dedicated, and celebrating his first birthday.  Now THAT is worth its weight in plane tickets!

Women in Black

Every time a homeless person is found dead outside or dies by violence in King County, WHEEL (a homeless women’s organizing effort) and the Church of Mary Magdalene (an ecumenical day ministry) mobilize for our silent witnessing vigil called Women in Black.

Today, we stand  in honor and memory of Rebekah Woods, 43, who also went by the name Valerie Lorriane Clarke.  On May 28th she was found dead on I5, near Holgate St.  Rebekah was a loved member of both the Mary’s Place community, as well as the Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC).

At least 16 people have died outdoor/violent deaths in Seattle already this year.

(Taken from the Women in Black press release)

Nickelsville

*Advocacy alert!!  Please be sure to check the bottom for ways that YOU can HELP!!!!*

A big story in the Seattle news recently has been the most recent move of Nickelsville, a tent city for homeless men and women.  Sponsored and managed by Share/WHEEL (co-sponsors also of Women in Black), Nickelsville is named after Mayor Nickels, who claims to do great things for the homeless people of Seattle, but has in all actuality, failed them time and time again.  

Mayor Nickels may say that there are enough beds to cover every homeless person, but how do you explain the nearly 3,000 men, women and children who still sleep out on the streets every night?  Do you really think that is their choice?   I sat with a mother today, and her five year old daughter, and we called every single shelter in King County, and two in other counties.  Not a single opening.  No one had room for this mother and child.  Does this outrage anyone else? *end rant*

The fact of the matter is that no, there are not enough beds to even begin to cover the thousands of homeless in King County alone.  Out of this desperation, Tent City 3 was started in 2002.   Modeled after Portland’s “Dignity Village,” and named after the manner of naming shanty towns Hooverville during the Great Depression, Nickelsville has faithfully provided anywhere from 50-100 homeless men and women a night safe shelter for 7 years.  Nickelsville, and its sister camp, Tent City 4, are housed mostly in church parking lots, occasionally taking residence on university campus.  The entire camp has to move every 90 days, to follow city ordinance, leaving Nickelsville to find a new willing host. 

Nickelsville is more than just a tent city, it is home for hundreds.  It is a place where men and women can safely rest their head each night. With shelters, if you don’t get in line in time, you lose your bed.  There is no guarantee with shelters.  In Nickelsville, the tent you sleep in is yours, every single night. It is a place where they can leave their belongings during the day while they are out working, looking for work, attending doctor appointments, visiting with family, etc.  It is a place where husband and wives can stay together, something no other shelter in Seattle offers! 

Nickelsville has turned into a community full of people who equally encourage and hold one another accountable.  There is round-the-clock security, community meetings and strict rules, all set by the community.  Drugs and alcohol are strictly forbidden.  Quite simply, these are men and women who desperately need a safe place to sleep each night, and a community to gather around them.  These are women and men who are empowered by simply having a tent to call “home.”

And yet, the City of Seattle has continuously tried to evict Nickelsville from nearly every location it has landed over the last 7 years.  They are give 90 day permits, after which they must pack up and leave, trying to find new safe ground.  Churches have put themselves in the line of fire, trying offer Nickelsville a place to stay.  These church have, in turn, been sued by the city. 

Finally, Nickelsville grew weary of fighting the city, and has sought refuge from the State.  They are now residing on State owned property, in hopes that Governor Gregorie will have a more open heart and mind than Mayor Nickels.  The land Nickelsville currently sits on has been abandoned for quite some time, and it seems a waste to let perfectly good land to unused, particularly when there are people in need of a place to go. 

We are currently advocating to the State and to Governor Gregorie to give Nickelsville a permanent place to call home.   It is rumored that she has been to visit Nickelsville this week.  We are only hoping that she can see how much good this tent city does for these men and women.  Until we can eradicate homelessness, there will be a real need for Nickelsville!

If you are interested in joining the campaign, please send an email or a letter to the following.  They are listening!  Now is the time to speak up!

Mr. McKenna, Attorny General: rob.mckenna@atg.wa.gov

Ms. Hammond, State Transportation Secretary: hammonp@wsdot.wa.gov

Mr. Judd, Governor’s Office: ron.judd@gov.wa.gov

Governor Christine Gregorie (via her website): www.governor.wa.gov

Exciting things about my life right now:

1. I am going to see RENT on June 16th.   I’m in the nosebleed section, because that is all that I can afford, but I am so incredibly pumped.  Seeing RENT will be a check off my list of things to do in life.  Yay!

2. I am going to see sweet baby Silas and Co. Father’s Day weekend!!  Last time I saw the Co., Silas was almost-but-not-quite crawling.  Apparently, he has grown from a baby to an engaging little boy, and I can’t wait to see him!!  Not to mention getting to see his incredibly awesome momma!!

3. While I’m in Alabama, I might also have the chance to see a friend of mine from high school.  We haven’t seen each other since the summer I left for Hong Kong.  She is living in New York City now, working as an actress. She and her boyfriend are going to be in PC for our 10 year high school reunion (to which I am not attending, thankyouverymuch), and we are planning to meet hopefully in Dothan for lunch one day!!  I can’t wait to see her.

4. Seattle Seafair starts June 27th.  What is Seattle Seafair?, you ask?  Well, apparently it is THE summer festival, lasting a whole month, and including such fun activities as: a marathon, a derby, Blue Angels demos, sea plane demos, parades and more!   One of my co-workers invited a few of us to her incredibly awesome deck overlooking Lake Washington, to view the planes on whatever day is all about the planes. 🙂

5. The weather.  It is starting to balance out nicely.  We went from 40* to 90*, and seemed to have settled at a lovely 70*.  They say this is what most of summer is like, cool/warm, some sunny days, and lots of outdoor activities.  Yay!  recently added: Seattle is now on day 21 of no rain.  I don’t know if this is a record or not, but people here sure are acting like it!

That’s all in the life of Liz (at least for the month of June).

Not much to say

I feel like I need to update, but I really don’t have much to say.  Life has settled into a bit of a routine here, which is nice. 

The weather has been beautiful for the last week and a half, and is supposed to be warm and sunny through the weekend.   People keep saying that this is unusual weather – that it typically doesn’t get this warm or this sunny until after 4th of July.  Well, I don’t know what typical weather patterns are or aren’t, but I’m loving this weather!  It cracks me up everytime I hear someone complaining about it being “too hot” here.  78* is NOT too hot!

My summer is booking up rather quickly.  I’ll be traveling to Alabama in a few weeks for my sweet godson’s birthday/dedication.  I am REALLY excited about seeing him again (and of course, all the other Alabama folk)  In July I’ll be traveling to Madison, WI for a wedding, where I’ll be the co-photographer!  Bless her heart, Jamie has a lot of faith in me! 🙂  I’m so excited to see Katie (the bride), and a couple of other YAMs as well!  Katie is getting married in the Madison Botanical Gardens, which is going to be just beautiful!! 

Later in July, Alice and Jan are coming to visit!  They came to see me in Hong Kong around the same time of year.  Its turning into a tradition.  I love it!  We’ll get to celebrate Jan’s birthday together, which will be a lot of fun.  Jan and I have spent everyone one of her birthdays together, except for one, since we met back in 2002!  Crazy, huh?

And somewhere in the midst of all the traveling and visitors, Kris is coming out for a visit (hopefully the end of June!)  So yeah, it is going to be a crazy busy summer.  But one that I am really looking forward to!