Saturday, June 27, 2009


Potlatch (from wikipedia) - a festival ceremony practiced by Indigenous poeples of the Pacific Northwest Coast in North America, along Pacific Northwest coast of the US and the Canadian province of British Columbia. The word comes from the Chinook Jargon, meaning "to give away" or "a gift". It is a vital part of indigenous cultures of the Pacific Northwest.

In an attempt to control Native Peoples, 1885 brought bans on Potlatches in both Canada and the US. Believe it or not, in the mid-1940's members of the Seattle Yacht Club chose this tradition on which to base a family event to be held at their newly acquired property on Bainbridge Island in beautiful Port Madison.
After over 60 years of annually celebrating this event, it was my turn to run the show this year. I attended my first Potlatch before I was born (my mom was pregnant with me when she and my dad attended in 1969.) I revisited the event throughout my childhood and once Brad and I started our family, we began to make it a tradition in our family. Last year, even my parents joined us in Port Madison. My turn had already come up and I had committed to being the assistant (or Queen) last winter just prior to our purchase of CAPAZ. As you may have guessed, the assistant runs the show the next year. Now you know how, with just a little more than two months to go before our departure from Seattle, I wound up chairing a 250 person event. Lucky for me, I had a fabulous committee and the outstanding SYC staff at my disposal.

This event officially starts on Friday evening with an adult blindfolded dinghy races (dad dons a paper bag and mom tells him where to go). There is a dinghy and kayak category - Brad and I entered the kayak side and placed second. This fun is followed by a potluck lasagna dinner. Saturday is a FULL day. In the morning, there is a fishing derby, arts and crafts, sailboat building, a scavenger hunt, and face painting. The afternoon is full of relay races and another on the water game we call the "Whale Hunt". Luckily, no one has to worry about food as there are donuts in morning, hotdogs on the grill for lunch and a beautiful salmon bbq for dinner. For those who still have a little energy left there is a DJ with dance music and karaoke. The kids usually sleep pretty well after all that. Sunday (which is traditionally Father's Day) again starts out with donuts and then everyone races those boats that they built on Saturday morning.
A successful Whale Hunt - Team Baker
It seemed like there were lots of smiles and people looked like they were having fun, so in my book the event was a success. My family had fun this year though we are lamenting a little that we won't be in attendance next year. We thought back to 2 years ago and spending Potlatch with the Dennehy's as they prepared to go cruising. Last year, it was the Giffords' boat Totem next to us at the dock who were getting ready to take off south. Following in their footsteps, we had a great weekend with lots of boating friends. I am sure we will be meeting many like minded families during our adventure. Now I can work on my boat projects!!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

First Thursday

CAPAZ and her crew made it out to the first race in the Elliot Bay Sailing Series on Thursday night. Even though there wasn't a theme for the evening, we organically came up with our own south of the border theme. I made some leftovers into nachos to go with the taquitos that I already had while Rose satisfied her avocado craving by making and brining a big bowl of guacamole. The missing piece fell into place when our neighbor from Delos, Erin, showed up with a pitcher full magaritas and Octavia jumped on board with some Pacificos. It could have been better if I had planned the whole thing. There really is something to be said for NOT plannning, sometimes.
The race itself was pretty fun too. There wasn't much wind at the start, but we tried to sail for a couple minutes before turning on the engine. We toured around the course and after rounding the second mark, the wind started to come up. So, we put our sails "back up" and saild the rest of the course. Ryan did some teaching up on the foredeck and we now have not one, but two newly certified spinnaker snuffers. Either Autumn or Bryce can be counted on in that category! Bryce also wanted to try a little driving when he looked over at Sliante and saw his friend, Sheridan Ferguson, driving their boat.
The party after racing was held in a little different spot, but there was a good band and hot dogs, so all was well. Ullman Sails was a sponsor for the evening and they were giving away t-shirts and had lots of "smalls". It almost killed Brad (after all his years with North Sails) that Bryce wanted to wear his new sailing t-shirt to school on Friday.
We will miss next week's race because we will be attending Bryce's 5th Grade graduation and gearing up for Potlatch!

PS Sorry for the lack of pictures, the camera was misplaced (it has been found!)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Laundry Breakthrough

It really is amazing what can make your day. Today, for me, it was laundry. I had a pretty serious laundry break-through today. Some of my closest friends may or may not know about my laundry freakiness (now I guess EVERYONE will know). It goes something like this: for the past several years, I have considered it my personal challenge as chief domestic engineer of the Baker household to be as efficient as possible with the laundry AND dry as much of outside for as much of the year as possible. You would think that living in Seattle, this would be a daunting task, but really most years (don't know about this last winter), one can dry the laundry for a family of 4 outside from about March 1st through the end of October and into November. My land neighbors can all testify to my laundry habits, but I must say that they were very supportive, keeping their comments focused on my color sorting abilities.
The original reasoning behind the laundry drying fetish was that when we installed a hottub, we should try to cut our electricity usage in other areas. The refrigerator, as number one power consumer, was not on the chopping block. However, number two, the dryer, could definitely be used much less, so off I went. As green became the new cool thing to do, I felt very much ahead of the curve because I had already gotten my whole routine down to a science: ask weather-boy (that would Brad and this comment along probably deserves its own blog entry, but I digress) what the outlook was for the following day. If the weather looked OK, throw a load of laundry in the washer before bed, hang in the AM. Take it down in the afternoon, folding and sorting as I went. Distribute to owners' bedrooms for putting away.
Then we moved onto the boat . . . . . . .
The whole reason for moving onto the boat was so that I could figure out most of these routines long before we leave. I must say that I was getting a little nervous because I just was not getting the rhythm of laundry. Most other areas seemed to well under control, but I just couldn't quite seem to get the laundry figured out.
At first, we still had access to the house which was a blessing and curse. I could throw a laundry into the washer at the house, but then that meant that I had to come back to dry it. This was not really helping me detatch myself from the house. Anyway, since the house went on the market, I was forced to give up my crutch.
We are pretty lucky that the laundry facilities here at Shilshole are very manageable to use. I have heard horror stories about long lines and quarter eating machines that just don't work very well but thus far this has not been my experience. I must say that there is something to be said for getting 5 or 6 loads of laundry completed in about 2 hours, but something was still just not right about it for me. Getting caught up on some reading or working on my laptop while waiting for the laundry to get done isn't a bad side effect.
Today, I got figured out. I was meeting a friend to walk with her and her dog up to the dog park at Golden Gardens. I hit on the great idea that I would put the laundry in on our way north along the docks towards the park and then I would change it over to the dryer on our way back. The timing was pretty perfect. I also decided to just fluff the laundry and see how much of what wasn't quite dry I could fit hanging at the boat. This turned out to be the missing piece. Today was hot for us Seattlites - 87* and there was a great northerly blowing through the marina. I fit most of 4 loads of laundry hanging from the life lines and by the time I had eaten lunch, it was all dry and ready to be folded and distributed to everyone's cabins. So, I think that I have one more thing figured out in this new boat life of ours!

While the laundry was a VERY exciting part of my day, tonight's concert at Greenwood Elementary bears honorable mention. It was great and we are so lucky to attend a school where the PTA has seen fit to focus their fund-raising goals on rounding out our children's school experience with Art, Instrumental Music, Song and Dance!!!