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Darn (well, maybe whew),

I did not get to see Jez or JohnPalmer yesterday, but then after reading Jez's recount of her flu, I think I'm lucky to have given them just virtual hugs. May they both recover swiftly.

Selene and I decided to lift ourselves from the grey miasma that can befall people in this area, if they aren't careful, by downing a bunch of chocolate covered espresso beans.

Well, that worked! We went off doing our various shopping errands. The growing cats needed a mound of kitty litter so a quick stop to the Kirkland Costco was in order. We couldn't believe the traffic jam we encountered. The streets were grid locked, the enormous three-block parking lot was jammed. As we looked on at the overflowing shopping carts it dawned on us what was happening. There were condiments of all sorts, chips, drinks, premade sandwiches, and salmon spreads. These folks were all getting ready for the Huskies game.

I also had to get some bicycle tights as it is getting mighty cold and wet for my timy shorts, and ear muffs for those pointy ears, so we went to Seattle to go to REI, and again we hit traffic on the 520 bridge with thousands of huskies fans on their sojourn to the stadium. Thankfully we parted company, they going north onto MonteLake and we joining I-5 south.

Good heavens, this took place three hours before the game! Seattle is a serious sports town and if you don't know the game schedules, you will get caught in traffic.

After REI we wandered into the Dia de Muertos faire taking place in Seattle Center. It was a low key event with the usual generic merchants and nice musical acts. The gems of the faire were the altars to the dead loved ones. Those were personal acts of love and remembrance set up by friends and families. It was heart wrenching to read about the many tragic and sometimes violent ways young ones died or were killed, life cut short.

We didn't have time to participate in the closing procession because we had to walk a mile to an evening performance at "On the board". There we saw and listened to Hamza El Din (http://www.hamzaeldin.com). The venerable master of the Oud (the Arabian short-necked lute) and Tar (the ancient single-skinned frame drum of the upper Nile) transported us musically into the depths of Nubia. It isn't often that I end up in a trance state at concerts. The Gyuto monks have done this, and this evening Hamza wove his ancient magic through voice, string, and drum skin to touch our souls.

I think we were just a few blocks away from Jez and John since they were at the Simon and Garfunkel concert. We walked briskly to the car through deep cold and soft rains in the emerald city.

Rene

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Hamza El Din
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