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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Favorite city: SEATTLE, and why not?

Looks like a birdhouse... or a mailbox, but it isn't. It's a book exchange box and there are many of them in neighborhoods all over Seattle.

This is just one resident's way to share good reads. There are about 15 books in this box adjacent to the sidewalk, inviting anyone to "Take a book/Leave a book."

There are a lot of things I really like about Seattle. This reputedly gray, rainy city sells more sunglasses per capita than any other major U.S. city. It also has the largest percentage of library card holders in the nation (80%) and residents spend double the national average on books every year.

Seattle Public Library
Seattle has the neatest public library (with 26 branches) all tied together by a very handy computer system that makes checking out books and returning them easier than going to the post office. It's library system is the busiest in the nation with a circulation of 24.2 million books, films, magazines, papers, etc. And it's head librarian is the only librarian in the world, perhaps, that has her
own bobble-head doll.
Librarian bobble head doll

Seattle is home to some pretty impressive second read book stores with good selections at Goodwill and Value Village too. These stores--some as large as your friendly Walmart--are vigorously shopped by all.

This city recycles EVERYTHING from lawn debris to food leftovers. There are regular garbage and recycle pick-ups and if you are not in recycling compliance (they spot check), you are warned twice... then fined! No plastic bags in stores either.

Seattle has a well run and much used public transportation system with environmentally pure buses that run on schedule. Commuters can check live on-time performance of their bus on line. And all buses have well-used bike racks--Seattle has more people who commute to work on bicycles than any other U.S. city. And it also has an impressive 24-hour ferry system--the largest in the U.S and its #1 tourist attraction.

Got dogs? Lots do in Seattle and they are welcome in more places. Excercise? Seems like almost everyone walks/runs/bikes/hikes/climbs/rows/etc. Lots of people on the streets. Want coffee? Are you kidding me? Seattle, the home of Starbucks, has more places to get a cappuccino or latte than anywhere else. The music culture is here as is the Experience Music Project--the EMP Museum.

Seattle has neighborhoods... really neat neighborhoods, many of which are eclectic in the mix of
houses, ages and styles. And trees of all kinds. It has the largest houseboat population east of the Orient.

Seattle tops the list of America's most educated city--more than half of its 675,000 residents hold a college degree. And it boasts the highest per capita ballet attendance too. Its Columbia City zip code is the most diverse in the nation boasting 59 different languages spoken.

Everything is green and abundant lush landscaping crowds the sidewalks in some areas. Seattle has a wonderful year-round climate for trees, shrubs, plants, grass, etc. Average December/January  temperature is 47/38. July/August averages 76/57. Believe it or not, Chicago, Dallas and Miami get more rain per year than Seattle. Much of the precipitation in Seattle is mist. I was standing outside talking to someone and without realizing it, the ground beneath me was dry but everything else was damp. It could rain all day in Seattle and measure only .10 of an inch while Miami could get a 7 inch dousing in an hour. Go figure.

Seattle has the Pike Place Market, Space Needle, a new waterfront 175 ft high Ferris wheel, an abundance of museums and other great tourist stuff. On a clear day you can see Mt. Rainier, the Cascade and the Olympic mountain ranges and always beautiful water. Seattle residents seem to have a certain elan you don't see elsewhere. Would Bill Gates live there if it wasn't great?

One outstanding Seattle fact: The Seattle Mariners baseball team won 116 games in 2001... tying the Chicago Cubs 1906 team for most wins in a season... and the Cubs did it in fewer games. Hey! Us Cub fans need something to grab on to.

But my favorite reason for loving Seattle is that my daughter lives there.

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