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Pike Place Market parking garage, Seattle


The Comfy Monster

A mess of geometry at Pike Place Market, Seattle. I love the duct painted to resemble brick. I love the bright hank of twine slumming it on the electrical pipe. And, to paraphrase Colonel Kurtz, "The patina! The patina!"



O Little Town of Everett

Mangers are not to be had for love or money in Everett, Washington, so Mary and Joe make do with a vacant used-car pavilion. Kris Kringle augments the three kings.



View from the bow of the Whidbey Island ferry on a night-time run...

The old moon laughed and sang a song,
As they rocked in the wooden shoe,
And the wind that sped them all night long
Ruffled the waves of dew.
The little stars were the herring fish
That lived in that beautiful sea--
"Now cast your nets wherever you wish--
Never afeard are we";
So cried the stars to the fishermen three:
And Nod.

- Eugene Field

From poetry.literaturelearning.org


World in Grain of Sand Department

Minimalist or maximalist, depending on how kozmic your point of view:

The subtle radiating colors here (well, ebbing waves, but hey) remind me of what I see when I press my fingers into my eyes after a long hard day. Also slightly reminiscent of, say, the shockwaves from a supernova.

This could be one of many beaches but just happens to be one near Westport, Washington.



Sea-wrack Descending a Beach

With this I've managed to put myself in mind of some of the Northwest School artists from the '50s such as Guy Anderson, Mark Tobey, Kenneth Callahan, and Morris Graves.


Things That Make You Go "Hmm"

Concrete box of mystery, Lake Chelan, WA 2011.

A careful reading reveals the proto-sandcastle on the shore as well as the intriguing curve of floats demarking the swim area.

(Why is there a word ["cube," obviously] for a three-dimensional square but not one for the equally common three-dimensional rectangle? [I could say "rectangular parallpiped" but it's nowhere as succinct, now is it?])


Storm Brewing: The Identity Parade

I've probably been watching too many TV police procedurals, but this array of antique implements near Maltby, Wasdhington, looked like a lineup to me.


Alleyway Boogie-Woogie (Study in Blues)

An eye-catching backdoor melange from otherwise drab Eastern Washington.

Yakima, WA 2011

Apologies to Mondrian.



Continuing after a lamentable day's lapse with my daily December posts (in my defense, I did post on my other blog), today's festive photo is my parting view of Microsoft Corporation, whose ivied halls I flounced out of this summer after a fifth of a century toiling for the corporate behemoth.



A Foggy Day

I'm going to try to do a daily post to wrap up the year. Here's today's photo, taken at Seattle's Pike Place Market...



Kicking off the end of the year with some archiportraits from the industrial no-man's land between Magnolia Bluff and Queen Anne Hill in Seattle.

Danger: Remote control locomotives! 


Slight Return

I recently realized that Jimi Hendrix's grave and memorial lies only 15 minutes from my house. Yesterday I and Stella the dog visited it. Interestingly the only other visitors at the time were also middle-aged grey-haired fellows. And yet the memorial showed signs of being frequented by young musicians and affectionate members of the opposite sex.

In the distance, Mt. Rainier

Yes, those welcome spots of cheerful color are lipstick prints

Many guitar picks were laid around the site; note the "little wing"


Sepia Antiquing

This week's Sepia Saturday porthole on the past features a collection of still lifes or dioramas from my recent trip through an "antiques mall" in Snohomish, Washington.

In all of these, but particularly the first, there's a distinct sense of the inhabitants having literally disappeared from the scene, leaving their inscrutable artifacts for us to infer meaning from.  It's worth (I think) enlarging each of these and perusing the details.

The lights left on but no one at home

Tchotchke diptych

Ikons of a quiet life

Lying in state

Left where Grampa dropped it

Meanwhile, in the shed...


Day of Thanks

The American Thanksgiving (coming up Thursday already!) is an old-fashioned kind of holiday, and while reviewing my photos (these depict my family's 2008 celebration) I began getting the whiff of an old-fashioned presentation... the second shot feels rather Rembrandtian, and the last of one of those moralistic Flemish still lifes of deliquescent repast.

The traditional performance for the grandparents

The traditional feast for friends and family

The traditional carcass


And the Skies Are Not Cloudy All Day

Seldom is heard a discouraging word.
Factory, South Seattle

Shopfronts, Mighty Tieton

Warehouse, Toppenish


Sepia Saturday: The Family Fairies

My father told me how his grandmother, Maggie Bredin Bentley, insisted that Irish fairies had come over with her family on the boat to America and now lived in the barn out back.

Alas, this is not a family photo.
My Bredin ancestors hailed from the village of Ballymagroarty, near Derry. They included my great-grandmother Margaret; her father William; grandparents Ezekiel (born ~1795) and Margaret Laird Bredin; great-grandfather Edward (born ~1775); and great-great-grandfather James (born ~1755).

I don’t know where the family originally came from: possibly Scotland. Reportedly, Bredin (sometimes spelled Braden) dates back to the 8th or 9th century, appearing in the Domesday Book. “It is supposed to represent the Danish form of the pronunciation of ‘Breton,’ which was originally ‘Brayton.’”

Her father William was a farmer. Here he appears in a landholdings document.

Margaret (Maggie) was born 1851. In 1865 at the age of 14 she travelled from Ireland to Philadelphia PA with her parents (and 3 younger siblings) on the Lady Emily Peel (853 tons, built in Canada in 1864). Here's her sister ship, the Minnehaha.

Here the family appears on the ship's passenger list.

“In the 1860s the McCorkell Line demonstrated that first-class sailing ships could compete with steam on the North American passenger run. They had five ships plying between Derry and the US cities of New York and Philadelphia: the Mohongo; Minnehaha, Stadacona, Village Belle and Lady Emily Peel. 'The Song of Hiawatha' by Henry Wandsworth Longfellow was a source of inspiration in the naming of many of the McCorkell ships... By the 1870s sailing ships could no longer compete with the speed, comfort and reliability of the transatlantic passenger steamers. In 1873 the Minnehaha made the last passenger voyage by a Derry-owned ship to New York.”

Currently I have no photos of my direct–line Bredins, but here are the brother of William M. Bredin, Ezekiel (1803-1895), and his wife Jane Bredin (b. 1820, she was their cousin). They lived in Drumcorn, on the other, east, side of the river that runs into Lough Foyle.

It’s not clear why the Bredins travelled on to Michigan, if it was their final destination all along. Early settlers in Livonia, which was organized in 1835, included James Grace; Margaret Bredin first stayed with the Graces when she arrived.

Livonia circa 1860

In 1869 Maggie, now 18, married John Bentley (born 1850 in Livonia MI, died 1922). Alas I have no known picture of John. They had two children, George (1885-1955) and Clyde (1888-1962).

Here’s a 1915 plat map of Livonia, showing William Bredin’s long rectangular parcel and John and Margaret Bentley’s irregular one nearby.

Margaret died in 1919, a year after her grandson, my father George Nelson, was born. He had no report of the fate of the fairies.

Sources include:

and thanks to Lynne Bredin of Cookstown, Northern Ireland, for the family photos!


Farm Fall

When I was a kid I rolled my eyes when, every year, my folks piled me into the car for a countryside drive "to look at the fall colors." I just didn't get it. Well, last weekend I visited a "U-Pick" farm near Eugene, Oregon ...and I capitulate, OK, OK, it was durn purty. But I must confess if there wasn't rusty old equipment mixed in there, I mightn't have taken out the camera.