April 4th, 2014
At the annual Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet held on January 25th, 2014 I made a presentation of a series of 20 photographs that were displayed for 20 seconds at a time… Pecha Kacha style. Concurrently, I read a 20 second profile of the business and other interesting facts about the industry.
This year’s presentation theme was about the often anonymous businesses that contribute to the island’s economy through manufacturing and industrial operations. The intent was to illustrate that the commercial capacity of Bainbridge Island is not just the retail storefronts that everybody is familiar with; but, there is also a vibrant entrepreneurial spirit that works, often hidden amongst the trees, if you will, that goes relatively unnoticed.
The photos were taken by Mr. Joel Sackett.
I’ve uploaded the slideshow here for you to take a look: Slideshow
March 13th, 2014
For all of you with pretentious-detectors, beware: I have welcomed the identity of poet into my life. Before, I just considered myself someone who wrote occasionally. Now I think that poetry, the art of poetry, is a way that I understand the world around me. How do I explain? Take for example photography. Once you get more and more involved in photography, you are not only a photographer for the split second you snap a photo. No, you walk around, always, seeing things in terms of composition, of lighting, of placement and movement. It is by continuously remaining open that you can then relate your experience in a moment of creation. So it is with poetry, I think. You walk around wide-eyed and in love with each thing you see then write about it.
The bizarro videogame Katamari Damacy comes to mind too. The sole purpose of the game is to roll around as a sticky ball and grow bigger. You start out sticking to small objects and increasingly gather larger and larger items on your body until soon you are rolling down skyscrapers. I think that it works as a metaphor for the artistic endeavor. From the second I leave my front door and head out into the world for the day, I am a sticky glob and take note of everything I see. By the end of the day I am chock full of the ephemera of my day. To write a poem I would take each piece off of me and lay it on the page. If I do a good job, the poem should stand as a simulacrum of the concert of emotions of my day. If I do a really good job, I manage to pick off all the junk of my day and get down to my skin and, once there, pick off the flesh with renewed vigor.
Serendipitously enough there is a copy of Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life in the bookshelf in the house where I live. Ever since reading Pilgrim at Tinker Creek I have been desperately in love with Dillard. She too lived on an island in the Sound, though more isolated and further north than I am now. The Northwest, it seems, is a literary hotspot. The rain, the mountains, the forest, the countless coffee shops, all of it gestures toward the literary. So I decided to pick up her book I hadn’t (gasp) yet read. In it, she remarks upon the difficulties and impossibilities of leading a writer’s life. She tells a story of trying to chop firewood: for the longest time she was terrible at it, could never make sizable pieces of firewood for burning, only small useless chips. Eventually she learned that to do it right, you don’t aim for the wood but the chopping block beyond it. After that realization she had a high stack of wood ready to burn, hurrah hurrah! And so it is with writing, you aim, always, for the obstinately blank page, the screen of flaring pixels, and try to etch out your flawed creation despite the sea of blankness and incorrigibility.
From what I can see so far, Bainbridge is a fantastic place to be an artist. Open mics are everywhere, the art museum is free, people are warm and welcoming and willing to share their craft. Guitar players come out in droves to perform, you can’t walk down the street without bumping into a writer, and artist exhibitions pop up continuously. So it is not so hard to be young on such an island. It is quite easy to walk around and feel welcome and on the cusp of many chance encounters. And so I throw my own voice out there, in the form of a small poem, to join the artistic community of Bainbridge. The Pacific Northwest has me thinking about the incomprehensibility of city sewer systems, mountains, whales, the Pacific Ocean, and ant colonies.
Lesson from Blue
Dates, appointments, schedules,
details, all details, slide right
off me like sea trash off a lost whale
during a cataclysmic storm in the far reaches
of the Bering Sea in the icy grips of November.
That is ok because even though I cannot hold
a pen between my flippers to write you,
I am a whale and can sing-song a semblance
of a message for the whole ocean to hear:
I am late, but coming.
March 13th, 2014
By Andy Butter - The lovely Christine St. Pierre (See BIMM Part 1 & 2) and I share a house, internships at YES! Magazine, and barista duties at Pegasus Coffee House. We’ve also been jointly asked to blog about our experience of being “young on Bainbridge”. I think that this will be great for you, the reader, to see how two people put in the same place can come out with two vastly different (or not?) experiences. But first, a little background info from me.
I moved to Bainbridge at the beginning of the new year to start a four-month long internship at YES! Magazine. After a grueling 40-hour Amtrak ride all the way from Minneapolis, which promptly dispelled any romantic notions I had of train travel, I found myself, still swathed in all my winter gear, in downtown Seattle. Laden with all my belongings, I waddled to the ferry and bought my first of many tickets to come.
Trains, busses, ferries, skyscrapers, taxis, business-people. All of it strange and unfamiliar to me. I grew up in Grand Marais, Minnesota, a tiny town of 1,300 people on the northern shore of Lake Superior. Grand Marais has one stoplight, two grocery stores, and three seasons: almost winter, winter, and still winter. To me, Bainbridge is not small or remote but quite a bustling place, especially considering its proximity to Seattle. Living on Bainbridge is not a tuning-down, a sinking into a bucolic dream, but instead a foray into a chaotic whirlpool of new faces and places. I can’t stand and gawk forever though, I have to get out in the world and see it, then blog about it!
An important part of integrating yourself into a new place is to meet people and make friends (duh). Sometimes that’s easier said than done. But no worries, for those less gregarious, less adept at navigating the innumerable pitfalls of social interaction, I have compiled a bullet-proof list of my way to make friends while slinging coffee at Pegasus. Godspeed ye, and good luck making friends out there, friend.
Midwestern Themed Clothing
I have a sweater that features two proud owls and the word “Wisconsin” in bold white type. I have a bright blue shirt that has the outline of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan encased in a heart. I often wear shirts that feature Northland College, my alma mater in Wisconsin. Every time I don cloth from the heartland I am always engaged in a fun conversation while I’m cashiering. Apparently, everyone on the West Coast lived in the Midwest at one point, or has a half-step-semi-second-cousin-in-law that does. Once I admit my origins the conversation turns to the weather. Once we start talking about the weather I am in the zone; I grew up in Minnesota, I could talk about the weather for days. Friendship: forthcoming.
Did you hear about the giant that threw up? Really? Because it’s all over town. How do you organize a party for the solar system? Simple, you just planet. These jokes are terrible, I’ll agree, but if you happen to chuckle, or at least show the common courtesy of chortling, then we have a starting point for rapport. After rapport, a budding acquiantanceship. Soon I’ll be your children’s godfather, just you wait.
Only to be used ironically. Results may vary.
A Sprinkling of Pop Culture References
After I take someone’s order and they fumble around for exact change I may ask them “Where’s the money Lebowski?” If they raise an eyebrow and give me the $2.17 without saying a word, I move along. But if they proudly proclaim their proclivity toward nihilism, then we have a blossoming friendship on the way. Don’t be disheartened if the references don’t start a friendly conversation right away. This method of friend-making often takes time and persistence. It also has the possibility of alienating you from those around you. Play it cool, man. If 90’s movie quotes aren’t working out, try a line from Game of Thrones. No one picking up on your amazing whistled rendition of Europe’s “The Final Countdown”? Bring it back with a hummed chorus of the Beatles’ “Penny Lane.”
Note for those that enjoy higher-brow culture: This method of making friends can work for you too! For example, I saw a young woman reading a book of poems by Elizabeth Bishop. We talked about our favorite poets. We then learned each other’s names and shook hands. Friendship!
February 20th, 2014
Missing those Salish Blues in our clam chowder? Blame the Navy. As reported by KOMO News, http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Navy-Oil-spill-in-Hood-Canal-larger-than-first-estimated-245240911.html , the Navy lost control of about 2,000 gallons of oily waste last week,. The spill forced the Kitsap Public Heallh District to close the beaches for shellfish harvesting http://www.kitsapcountyhealth.com/environment/shellfish_advisories.php on February 12th as a precaution.
In the meantime the pub has been getting it’s clams from Western Washington ocean beaches…however, you will notice they are Manilas.
As soon as the Hood Canal closure is lifted we’ll get back to the lovely Salish Blues that Baywater Inc. has been growing and harvesting for the pub’s now famous chowder and steamers.
February 18th, 2014
The Kitsap Community & Agriculture Alliance (KCAA) invites you to participate in a special West Sound Agritourism Workshop, an event to initiate the Kitsap Peninsula as a destination to West Sound small farm, nature and other outdoor activities. KCAA believes small farms & gardens, nature & environmental groups, lodging facilities (including Bed & Breakfasts), and other value added producers would benefit greatly from sponsorship and participation in this event.
When: February 22nd, 2014 from 8:30am - 4:00pm (Lunch provided)
Where: Bremerton Boys & Girls Club (3102 Wheaton Way, Bremerton, WA 98310)
$25 General Admission
$20 KCAA Members (Special code sent to members via email - contact KCAA for more info)
$10 for Students & Interns - must enter Intern/Student at check out for special pricing. Please bring student ID/Verification to workshop.
Tickets can be purchased by visiting: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/559822
Please contact us at email@example.com with questions or for more information. Event agenda and poster below:
February 7th, 2014
By Christine St.Pierre - The hinges squeak on the coffee house door and I shift my gaze toward the entryway with the rest of the Pegasus staff, programmed to greet the sound as another customer shuffles in from the cold. From behind the counter, I greet the newcomer with a smile and ask, sincerely, “How are you?” Too often, the person is shocked by the authenticity in my tone; they’ll raise their brow, tilt their heads, pause to think, and, with a sigh, say something to the effect of, “I’m well, but [insert personal detail here].” Step one in making a new friend: care.
Step two: remember. The next time they walk in through those squeaky front doors, I’ll ask, “How did it go with [restate personal details from last conversation here]?” And so it begins; a relationship that had the dreary potential of being a simple exchange of money and coffee becomes something more. This is how I met most of the folks on the island with whom I’m building strong friendships—young or old, male or female. I realized that this little community wants to let you in, so I found an opening and slipped on through.
The final step: memorize their drink orders. Do this and you’re in forever. No foam. Soft-boiled eggs. Add an inch of water. Tie the tea bag. Whole wheat, a little burned. Split-shot quad-shot extra dry soy cappuccino with a splash of vanilla and sugar in the raw. Extra hot, please!
Working these shifts is the equivalent of hanging out with friends in my kitchen. Regulars get their drinks and sit at the bar. We begin chatting, and more of them file in, greeting each other and catching up. They leave together in small groups, probably off to a job or farm or hike or musical endeavor, and I feel all warm inside knowing I’ll see them the next morning—same place, same time, same drink.
Since this friendship journey began, I’ve been to some really cool places with some really cool people. The Grand Forest, for example, has a beautiful field at the end of a series of trails that is perfect for cloud gazing, singing songs, and sunset yoga. Once, on my way to this field, I ran into a Pegasus friend who was heading into the forest to gather stinging nettle with a group of plant-loving locals. Later, we crossed paths again, and they graciously shared stinging nettle pesto and soup with me. As the clouds parted, we stood in a circle and dined on the foraged nutrition, photosynthesizing while we discussed our appreciation of the forest.
Of course, there are less happenstance ways to form bonds and experience the island, like attending the open mic (Tuesday) or open jam (Thursday) nights at Pegasus. If, like me, you’re not a trained musician, bring your poetry on Tuesdays and slam it out! Or, if, like me, you love to sing, bring your voice on Thursdays; Larry, a regular jammer and real sweetheart, has an extensive catalogue of folk, blues, and bluegrass songs that are easy to learn, and he would love to add to the queue if you’ve got something in mind. The Bainbridge Brewery also offers live music on Wednesday evenings, which makes for a wonderful transition from climbing at the Island Rock Gym just across the Coppertops parking lot.
Not long ago, I began my life on the island attending events like these by myself, enjoying the culture while watching the community interact from a distance. Now, I’m in it, and all it took was a little coffee.
By Christine St.Pierre - Downtown Seattle seemed to vibrate, its lights pulsating with electricity. Standing on the balcony, I watched the city grow dim and disappear as the ferry slipped into the thick fog surrounding Bainbridge Island. Moonlight illuminated the small landmass before me, its ridge jagged from the treetops of giant evergreens. Small houses dotted the shoreline with kayaks and beach chairs along the water’s edge. The ferry’s engines turned off, and we coasted into the harbor.
Slowly, I inhaled through my nose; the smell of seawater, kelp, and dense forest flooded my senses. A calm overcame me. Leaving the sleepless bustle of Seattle behind, the island immediately offered a tranquil escape. The moonlight lit my path as I walked to my new home from the ferry station. Sleepy, eclectic storefronts boasted of a lively community, and I was eager to discover what the sunlight would bring the next morning.
I awoke in a beautiful cabin home with a wall of windows that overlooked a yard decorated with large ferns and old growth trees. The other interns living in the house slowly filed into the kitchen to boil water for their morning tea, and we elaborated on what drew us to the island for an internship at YES! Magazine. Writers, activists, and lovers of the outdoors, each of us was eager to plant roots in the island’s various organic farming, music, art, and writing circles. So began the fun part: finding them.
Our home in the southeastern corner of the island is a short bike ride away from downtown Winslow, the community hub that welcomes the flow of ferry passengers as they disembark from the terminal. All day, people wander in and out of the assortment of local businesses that line the streets, greeting each other by first name. The general aesthetic and attitude is that of humility, genuine happiness, and an appreciation for their shared island home. Even the sun seems to shine more often here.
I had heard rumors of the island being a desert of twenty and thirty-something folks, but immediately I caught glimpses of them everywhere, grabbing lunch at the Town & Country grocer, sipping coffee, or driving trucks filled with crates of locally grown produce along Winslow streets. They exist amongst the families and tourists, a rare species that can be seen anywhere at any time. The tricky part is actually getting to know someone. From there, it’s a domino effect. I landed a job at Pegasus Coffee House, which filtered me directly into a scene composed of sailors, famers, artists, writers, musicians, yogis, locals, transplants, and everything in between. Quickly, I became acquainted with a handful of locals and began my transition into island life.
My adventure to Bainbridge Island originated as a career opportunity, one that would come and go, offering professional skills and connections that would lead me into a future in editing. Upon arriving, though, I sensed that I would weave myself into the conscious community before me—one that I had unsuccessfully searched for in Seattle—and remain for much longer than planned.
I was right. Over time, this island would become my home.
February 7th, 2014
Every generation puts its stamp on the American Dream, states Dan Kadlec unequivocally, in his piece Millennials Put Their Surprising Stamp on the American Dream | TIME.com http://business.time.com/2014/02/06/millennials-put-their-surprising-stamp-on-the-american-dream/#ixzz2sgsrimnE
But the current batch of 20-somethings, sometimes called the Millennials, have failed to overtly stamp Bainbridge Island… it would seem.
When you look at demographic data for the island-city there is one generation most notably absent… those born between the years of 1983 and 1994. Look around you next time you are at the movies, on the ferry, in a restaurant - other than the waitstaff, where are the Millennials? Sure, around the holidays you may see them passing through our quaint streets, but where are they and what are they doing the rest of the time?
That is the assignment I have posed to anyone interested in sharing.
Christine St.Pierre, who has come to us by way of the Yes! magazine intern program, has taken up the challenge and you can see her first two posts in this blog.
For the rest rest of you, where are you and what are you doing… on Bainbridge Island?
January 10th, 2014
It states on the website, “Bainbridge Island…has more than just epic scenery: its bakers, fudge-makers and artists are using the web to stay connected with visitors long after they’ve snapped their last photos”.
Bainbridge Bakers is one local business that has taken their presence online, and has ran with it. Armed with a frequently updated Facebook page and Instagram account, owner Michael Loudon shares moments from important local events as well as images and updates on his bakery’s delicious food and drink. Bainbridge Bakers is currently undergoing construction on their second location right by the ferry terminal in the Island Gateway complex.
Other businesses, in addition to their Facebook pages, are using ecommerce to stay connected with customers. Eleven Winery, The Traveler, and we here at Parfitt Way (Pegasus Coffee House and the Harbour Public House)…these are just a few businesses that have made it easy for customers to shop for their products online long after they have taken the ferry back to the mainland.
2013 was indeed a great year for local business as you can also read about 2013 and indicators for 2014 on the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance Website http://www.kitsapeda.org/
For more information on the eCity awards, visit http://www.google.com/economicimpact/ecities/
December 23rd, 2013
A Bainbridge Island Institution and tradition the One Call for All organization is continuing to channel the generous donations, over $1,000,000.00 in the last year, to support the numerous causes and groups that do so much to enhance the life and experience of the Island. Just some examples, Montessori Country School is in its 40th year of getting children started on the path to a lifetime of learning and working together in a sharing and caring environment. Entering its third generation of leadership the school is an innovative source of childhood learning experiences. Another beneficiary is IslandWood. This outdoor based learning center for all ages is located on 225 acres which brings participants into the natural world that is seemingly ever more distant and isolated from the sounds of the birds, woods and waters that surround us. Originally started in cooperation with the Seattle public School IslandWood has evolved into a grand resource for Bainbridge as well as the surrounding communities. Since 2001 the Bainbridge Island Youth Symphony has been bringing Island youth into the world of music. With the December 15th concert in Seattle the orchestra celebrates what promises to be the best year ever. With many other good causes and organizations to support these few are just the tip of the iceberg. Please give generously. One hundred percent of your gift goes directly to the recipient of your choosing. For additional information visit http://www.onecallforall.org