I’ve been in Seattle since Thursday, first speaking at the Washington education conference, and then spending a few days with my brother and sister-in-law and their baby. Daniel and Em came with me to this conference, since they’ve never met their cousin.

(Em is thinking about this whole another-girl-in-the-family thing)

The flight here was…long. Word to the wise: If you fly AirTran, there will be no food and no movies, not even on six-hour flights in business class. I can’t believe I shelled out all that money to fly business class in exchange for two packs of Pepperidge Farm cookies and hours and hours of being ignored by the flight attendants. (Granted, the seat was nice and big, but after nine hours of entertaining two children on planes sans electronics or meals, AirTran has lost my business.)

The conference, which was in Puyallup, was a particularly friendly one (here’s half of the room full of people who are getting ready to listen to my “What Is Classical Education” talk):

and I spent a lot of time at the book table afterwards, talking to parents. I’m continually impressed, whenever I go to these conferences, by the amount of dedication on view. So many parents, all putting tremendous effort into curriculum choices for their kinds, trying so hard to tailor education to each child’s needs. This is the bright counterpoint to all those dark pronouncements about how America’s kids can no longer read, write, or think. These conferences remind me that the desire to learn is still very much alive.


Random thoughts about the Pacific Northwest….

1. The weather here is GREAT. Yeah, I know there’s all the rain and clouds and stuff, but in Virginia it’s been over 100 degrees for most of June so far, and here it is COOL. I would actually come and live here if I could figure out what to do with the farm in Virginia. I’ll take clouds over sun and 95% humidity, thanks.

2. We’ve ended up eating out a lot on this trip. The food is great. The service, not so much. Is there some kind of northwest ethos out here that causes waiters to SAUNTER towards your table, and to forget that your order is, in fact, waiting to be picked up and brought to your table, until your hungry niece begins to hurl forks on the floor? The one constant in restaurants so far has been that it takes FOREVER to get the food. I’m ready to make a general statement about waitstaff in Seattle: They’re not in a hurry. Ever.

3. When the cash machines ask you to confirm that you’ll pay the $2 fee for making use of them, they don’t give you the options of “I decline” and “I accept.” They say, “No, thank you,” and “Sure!” (This makes me giggle every time.)

Showing 11 comments
  • Jenny

    LOL–I, too, noticed the slow saunter of service professionals when I first moved to the west! Still, having lived in the South, I have to agree that I’m willing to suffer the cold in order to enjoy a mild summer. What I *do* miss about the south: that southern hospitality/sociality. I miss being able to drop by friends’ and neighbors’ houses to just visit . . . out here, if you show up at someone’s home without a specific errand or reason, they say, “So, what do you want?” You can’t just visit–there has to be a reason for showing up! How I miss those porchfront chats! 🙂

    P.S. Your hair looks great!

  • Trish

    Hi, Susan, it was great to meet you at WHO on Friday. Your talks were so enjoyable, just because you are fantastic in person! Hope you enjoy your stay here in our “can’t decide if it’s summer yet” city. Your kids will enjoy the troll under the bridge if you have time and I’m sorry about the service out here. Try Nordstrom (seriously, buy shoes) and you’ll get a whole new view. Everyone else just attempts, Nordstrom delivers. (They do have a restaurant too.)

    Safe journey home and thanks so much for trekking all the way out to us. Pacific Northwesters are very grateful.

    ps — how can we help you move out here? 🙂 Woohoo! That would be FAB.

  • Patty in WA

    Dear Susan,

    It was so encouraging to hear your presentation–as it always has been for me. Thanks for making the trip.

    Kind regards,
    Patty (slouching toward my coffee)

  • Another Susan

    If it will help I’ll take your Virginia farm off your hands. Will the animals be included? No, really.


  • Sahamamama

    Beth in New Jersey writes —

    Random Thought #3 is funny. “No, thank you.” “Sure.” My husband is from California, and he does not see anything humorous about this. 🙂

  • sharon

    Your Farm…I’ve been wanting to move back to Va. I would love to take it off of your hands but I’m a few $$$ short.

  • Shani

    Thanks for your review of the PNW, Susan. My husband and I have decided to move there from Phoenix, and were a little concerned about the weather issues (not too much, as we’re originally from MI). Your review confirmed our suspicions; we’ll take less sun and far lower temps, thank you very much, if the alternative is 120 degrees and relentless sunshine (yes, really).

    As an aside, I so enjoy reading your blog. Your humor and outlook on many things mirror my own; and my husband said I don’t have a sense of humor, LOL! Shows what he knows.

    Keeping my fingers crossed you can stay justthismuch ahead of us on your Story of the (Whole) World series! If you need an extra pair of eyes, give me a holler… 🙂

  • Angela

    My husband and I visited OR for the first time last year and loved it. We were tempted to move there right away. But did you know that (like NJ, I hear) they are not allowed to pump their own gas? We rented a car and went to fill it up and the attendant came up and said, “Step away from the vehicle!” I guess Washington has a no cell phones while driving law and I could live with that, but what’s with a law to keep you from zipping in and out freely at the gas station? Protect the environment? (Right) What about the guy whose job it is to breathe the fumes all day long?

  • Abbieter

    I have one question. How do you find the time to do all that you do?? I have just been introduced to your books, and I’ve read your bio. To say the least, my life PALES in comparison. How is it that I feel I never have time to do all that I need to do, and I am a stay-at-home mom with a bio the length of a single sentence, if that? I have decided to home-school my daughter this fall, and I am truly excited about this new adventure. This will, by the way, bring my bio to two sentences. Never been to Washington. I’ve always thought $2 was far more than one should be charged for using an ATM.

    Best Wishes,


  • Susan


    Apex!! Have you ever read Edith Wharton’s “The Custom of the Country”?

    And…good luck with your daughter. Post here if I can be of any help to you.


  • Bartender Brian

    So another one of my favorite authors, Kat Richardson, lives on a boat in Seattle. She has a series called Greywalker. It takes place in and around Seattle. It’s sci-fi/fantasy I suppose. Vampires and stuff. You probably wouldn’t be interested. No plagues or black death. I like them though. I’m crazy like that.

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