Saturday, March 28, 2009


My friend Laura Damon has long been interested in chimpanzees, and she mentioned in an email that I was near the Chimpanzee & Human Communication Institute in Ellensburg, WA. I stopped there, attending a 1 1/2-hour "chimposium" in which I learned a lot about chimps and observed the three residents using American sign language to each other and to humans. What an experience that was!

I encourage everyone to take advantage of this opportunity when possible. The Web site is

Driving east from Ellensburg I encountered snow--but not on the road. For much of the rest of my trip so far there has been snow on the ground. Seeing it among the conifers on the mountainsides was beautiful, and once a recent snowfall had dusted the branches. Such glorious sights I've seen!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Hail, Columbia!

Visiting my niece Jessica Burstein in Seattle was fun, as I hadn't seen her in years, and I enjoy her company. We ate (and drank) at several good restaurants in her neighborhood, and had a lot of conversations.

I'd broken a tooth on the way there, and her dentist glued it back together (a temporary measure) that turned out to be QUITE temporary, as it came loose about an hour later as I gently ate. So now I'm gap-toothed again.

With the help of Dr. Joe Appiah-Kusi I visited two schools, and another that Jessica had arranged for. Didn't actually speak (except briefly to one class) at Seattle Girls' School, but had a fascinating tour of the place. The syllabus is really interesting, and as it's a private school it can make education more meaningful, environmental and effective than is possible in the public bureaucracy.

Back to Portland for hosts Laura and Jonathan's party and to again enjoy their one-year-old, Hadley. I spoke at the party and showed some of my artifacts.

My drive to Ellensburg, WA was one of the most beautiful of the whole trip, through The Dalles along the Columbia River. At times the road and the river were at the same level, with cliffs enclosing us on both sides. Even an occasional waterfall!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Relaxing in the Woods

In Auburn, CA, about an hour's drive NE of Davis, I visited Arlene Bouman. We had been roommates in the late '50s, and seen each other only once since then, about 39 years ago. What a treat to see old friends and catch up with THEIR lives!

Arlene lives in the foothills of the Sierra Mountains, and from her deck all one sees is miles and miles of ponderosa pines and the mountains in the distance. I was able to unwind there after all my urban experiences.

I spoke at a school library in Grass Valley that's also a public library. I didn't get any details on how that works, but it seems a reasonable arrangement in this era of library consolidations and closings.

What followed was a LONG drive to Portland, Oregon, where I stayed the night with Laura and Jonathan Stanfill on my way to Seattle. Lots of orchards and nut farms along the way, many of them in bloom.