Sunday/ sunny and cold 🌬

The high today was all of 38 °F (3 °C), but no matter— the pickleballers were out in full force at the Miller Park courts on 19th Avenue.

In fact, I notice now that one of the sixteen intrepid competitors was in shorts and a t-shirt 🥶.

Friday/ inside the Summit 🏬

The amigos toured the new $2 billion Seattle Convention Center extension today. (Construction had started in August 2018).
The existing Convention Center is now named Arch, and this extension is called Summit.

There is a large below-ground space, and five sprawling floors stacked on top of it, with a ballroom the size of a football field at the top. (The height of the Center is the equivalent of 14 regular floors).
The planks of wood suspended from the ceiling in the ballroom, and used for paneling at the ballroom entrance doors are called ‘wormwood’.
The wood comes from salvaged, decommissioned log-booms (floating barriers in waterways to collect logs that had been cut nearby).
After some time in the water, larvae of marine clams (sp. Bankia setacea) attach themselves to the logs, and start drilling into the log’s interior, creating a network of tunnels.

‘Seattle faces a moment of truth to save downtown’ wrote the Seattle Times today, pointing a report from Downtown Seattle Association that had estimated in October 2021 that 500 street-level businesses had closed since 2019. Only  300 new street-level businesses had opened. The hope is that the Convention Center extension can serve as a catalyst to bring people back and fill the empty spaces of commercial real estate.

Wednesday/ about the Abrams tanks ⚙️

President Biden announced today that the U.S. will send 31 Abrams tanks to push back against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

From the New York Times:
But by promising Abrams tanks — which John F. Kirby, the National Security Council spokesman, said would take “many months” to be built by General Dynamics — Mr. Biden was able to give Mr. Scholz political cover to send Leopard tanks by early spring. And Germany’s decision opened the way for Spain, Poland and Finland to do the same, with Norway likely next to announce a similar contribution.

The latest versions of the Abrams and the Leopard tanks. These are models are both the third generation of tanks that were first designed and built in the 1970s.
The Abrams tank is named after WWII tank commander Creighton Williams Abrams, Jr. (1914-1974).

Tuesday/ mail from Malaga, Spain 📨

Very nice: the stamps I had purchased just 11 days ago from my seller in Spain, landed in my mailbox tonight. The mailman should be commended for still doing the rounds at 8 at night.

This time the mailing envelope has the dreaded computer-processed postage label on. (Some philatelists don’t mind: they collect even these machine-generated labels).

Correos (the name printed on the postage paid label) is a state-owned company responsible for providing postal service in Spain.
SWA on the stamps: South West Africa, Namibia’s name until independence in 1990.
RSA on the stamps: Republic of South Africa, South Africa’s official name since 1961 (before 1961 the country went by the Union of South Africa, and like Canada, Australia and New Zealand, it was a self-governing dominion of the British Empire).

Monday/ at the library 📖

I checked into the central library in downtown for the first time since the start of the pandemic today, and did very well. 😁
I bought two books for $1 each (so: free) at the little store at the entrance, and
checked out two Der Spiegel magazines and The Case of The Shoplifter’s Shoe. (A Perry Mason detective mystery. He is a lawyer and his secretary’s name is Della, and his private detective is Paul Drake.  It’s easy reading and for old times’ sake. I had read them all a long time ago).

Saturday/ a Great Britain stamp enigma

A little side benefit from buying stamps from sellers all over the world is that the senders sometimes paste whole sheets of stamps onto the envelope, instead of using a dreaded computer-generated black-and-white ‘stamp’ .

Why would the seller use these stamps from 30, 40 years ago, though?
He had an oversupply of stock?

Greetings Stamps. ‘Memories’ Set of 10
1992 (28 Jan.) Two phosphor bands
1592 (1st) multicoloured Flower Spray
1593 (1st) multicoloured Double Locket
1592 (1st) multicoloured Key
1592 (1st) multicoloured Model Car and Cigarette Cards
1592 (1st) multicoloured Compass and Map
1592 (1st) multicoloured Pocket Watch
1592 (1st) multicoloured 1854 1d. Red Stamp and Pen
1592 (1st) multicoloured Pearl Necklace
1592 (1st) multicoloured Marbles
1592 (1st) multicoloured Bucket, Spade and Starfish

Greetings Stamps. ‘Smiles’ Set of 10
1991 (26 Mar.) Two phosphor bands. Perf 15×14
1550-1559 (1st) multicoloured

British Anniversaries.
1971 (25 Aug.) Two phosphor bands
891 5p multicoloured Faraday Building, Southampton University

British Trees (2nd Issue)
1974 (27 Feb.) ‘All-over’ phosphor
949 10p multicoloured Horse Chestnut

‘Occasions’ Greetings Stamps
2003 (4 Feb.) Two phosphor bands, Perf 14½x14
2337 (1st) lemon and new blue ‘Gold star, See me, Playtime’
2338 (1st) red and deep ultramarine ‘I♥U, XXXX, S.W.A.L.K.*’
*XXXX is a beer and Sealed With A Loving Kiss, a World-War II postal acronym
2339 (1st) purple and bright yellow-green ‘Angel, Poppet, Little terror’
2340 (1st) bright yellow-green and red ‘Yes, No, Maybe’
2341 (1st) deep ultramarine and lemon ‘Oops! Sorry, Will try harder’
2342 (1st) new blue and purple ‘I did it! You did it! We did it!’
[From the 2011 ‘Collect British Stamps’ Stanley Gibbons Stamp Catalogue]

Lucky Friday the 13th? ☘️

The largest lottery winnings ever is the Powerball payout of US$2.04 billion recorded just last year on Nov. 7, 2022.
As of today, and for tonight’s drawing, the Mega Millions prize is up to $1.35 billion.

From thelotter.com:
The biggest jackpots in the world, both starting and awarded, belong to US Powerball and Mega Millions.
Both of the lotteries jackpot prizes reset to an estimated US$20 million each time they’re won.
This is larger than many lotteries’ biggest payouts!
The second-biggest starting prize belongs to Europe’s transnational star: The EuroMillions.
The top prize starts at €17 million and can grow with each rollover until it reaches the prize cap.

Update Sat. 1/14:  The second largest jackpot in Mega Millions history was sold in Lebanon, Maine (pop. 6,000) at the Hometown Gas & Grill. The winner hasn’t come forward yet.

The display board at the 7-11 here on 15th Ave. on Capitol Hill, where I had just bought 3 tickets for $2 each for the $1.35 billion Mega Millions lottery. I’m such a rank amateur when it comes to buying lottery tickets, that the clerk had to inquire twice as to exactly WHICH lottery I wanted tickets for (For the big prize— duh .. and it didn’t help that his accent make it sound like MAGA millions😆).

Thursday/ soaked ☔️

It’s a challenge to go for a run outside, or to play sport outdoors in the Pacific Northwest winter.
When it’s clear and dry, it may be too cold.
When it’s cloudy and milder, it may be raining.
There’s always skiing and snowboarding in the mountains, of course.

The beautiful new blue surfaces of the Miller Park Pickleball and Tennis Courts on 19th Ave. are soaked today.

Sunday/ downtown 🏬

Here are a few pictures that I took on my walk around downtown Seattle today.

The Seattle Convention Center expansion is nearing its completion. This part of the Convention Center is called Summit, and the existing part of the Center a block away is now called Arch.
The new entrance to Pacific Place mall off Seventh Avenue is complete.
Will the renovations inside entice people to come in and shop, and will people come and watch movies at the theatres on the top floor, now that the worst of the pandemic is over? Time will tell.
These pop art installations are on the second floor. I believe the woman’s face is Roy Lichtenstein’s art. Lichtenstein was a leading figure in the Pop Art movement of the ’60s along with Andy Warhol. The L O V E letters might have been inspired by Robert Indiana’s 1970 LOVE statue in Philadelphia. Robert Indiana’s 1970 LOVE
Here’s the corner of Sixth Ave and Westlake Avenue. The McDonalds right here has been replaced with a Chase Bank branch.
Is access to fast cash better than access to fast food?
Look for the Space Needle in the distance.
A look up👆
Here’s the newly installed (re-installed, in a different place) Pink Elephant Car Wash sign. It is the smaller one of two from the premises of the now-defunct Pink Elephant Car Wash off nearby Denny Way. (The carwash had been a fixture there since 1951 but made way for high-rise condos and office buildings). Maybe they should have changed the ‘OPEN’ on the sign to ‘CLOSED’ before reinstalling it here. Out-of towners with dirty cars might think there is a carwash nearby.
The ‘campfire’ installation at the Amazon Spheres lends a little warmth to the surroundings.
Look for scooters and bicycles when crossing the bike lanes!
Another new Amazon building called Amazon Frontier.
It’s impossible to tell how much of the building’s floor space is in use, with the holiday, and with so many employees still working from home.   

Happy New Year! 🥂

Revelers could gather at the Space Needle again (post-pandemic) to usher in the new year with the fireworks display there.
These pictures were sent to me by a friend— snapped from the rooftop of a condominium building.

Sunday/ the third time, a charm 🏅

Argentina has won the World Cup for a third time (also in 1978 and 1986). Congratulations to Argentina and to Lionel Messi.

Lionel Messi (35) during the World Cup Final today in Lusail Stadium, Qatar. Messi scored a penalty kick (23′), a goal (108′) and another penalty kick in the post-game shoot-out.
Eight years ago in the 2014 WC Final against Germany, Messi had struggled to make an impact large enough to secure victory for his team.
[Picture by Adrian Dennis/​AFP/​Getty Images]

Saturday/ the cold and damp 🌫

In restless dreams, I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
– From ‘The Sound of Silence’ by Simon & Garfunkel (1964)


I stepped out of my house into the cold to take a few pictures of the fog, late last night.

Friday/ never mind the snow ⛄️

There’s a little snow on the way this weekend for the low-lying areas around Puget Sound, say the meteorologists.

This picture appeared in the South African newspaper Die Burger (‘The Citizen’) today, obtained from a Facebook post. Rudi, Patrick, Jacques and Ferdie are South Africans working on a farm near Nekoosa, Wisconsin. They refused to let a little snow and 25 °F temperatures stop them from their doing their regular barbecue.
Yes: better believe it when a South African says ‘Nou gaan ons braai’ (‘Now we’re going to barbecue’). Those are four favorite South African words. 🤗