Archive for October, 2008


Week 3 – West Seattle – “Sealthy Living”

October 26, 2008

“We are part of the earth and the earth is part of us.Chief Sealth

Chief Sealth (whom Seattle is named after) had a love for his land and his people.  He was also a beautiful wordsmith who spoke of whispering winds and midday rains washing away the blood of his ancestors.  Too many times we take for granted what is given to us and our cynical nature bubbles to the surface like the trash we collect.

The day started with dreams and aspirations of the ultimate in recycling…Garage Sales!  Ben’s list consists of pruning shears and assorted garden tools.  I’m always on the lookout for $.25 paperbacks and kitchen items.  We struck out finding anything we needed at the garage sales but kept our eyes on the lookout for an exceptionally trash-y looking area.  We didn’t have to go very far when we spotted a particularly dirty area coincidentally behind Chief Sealth High School.  We found lots of candy wrappers, Styrofoam lunch containers and plastic juice bottles (nearly everything recyclable).

I crossed the street and started filling my bucket quickly, having to stop frequently with the constant cars passing me trying to get into a long driveway.  I squeezed my hand through the diamond shaped fence to pick up various bottles and saw people staring at me not too nicely.  I realized I was probably trespassing and returned to the road where I belonged. Then I noticed the giant cross on the front of the building.  I was picking up trash on the sidewalk and road in front of a giant church.

Two heathens with two buckets cleansing their souls by getting dirty.  I think Chief Sealth would be proud.


Week 2 – Hartstene Island aka “Paradise Found”

October 20, 2008

We spent the weekend at Hartstene Island (alternate spelling: Harstine Island) where we accepted the daunting task of actually finding trash in a place where the locals dub their island as “Paradise.”  It’s a different kind of Paradise than I’m used to seeing.  Being from Hawaii (Paradise #1), I first saw Seattle as cold, rainy and indifferent.  After living here for awhile and with Ben’s adventurous spirit I am now able to call Washington State “Paradise” as well (Paradise# 2).

Of course the differences could fill many-a-blog, but the similarities are what are so interesting.  On both islands you take for granted the “Aloha Spirit.”  Everyone waves to each other, whether it is on bikes, cars, or walking on the road…and if someone doesn’t wave back, it is then deemed okay to whisper “tourist” and roll your eyes. 

Another similarity is respect for the “Aina” (the land).  Jan (Ben’s beautiful mom) was insistent that we would not be able to pick up one bucket, much less two in their Paradise.   We always take a walk along the beach anyway when we’re there, so we just brought our bucket just in case.  We passed velvety baby deer wandering along the driveways and noticed how dog-like seal faces truly are as they bask so contently on the docks. 

At first we fought over each tiny little scrap of Styrofoam that we could find washed up along the shore.  In fact, nearly everything we picked up off the beach was something that had washed ashore from somewhere else.  Even with the three of us, it took over an hour to scrounge up two buckets worth of flotsam and jetsam. 

Two weeks and four buckets later we are still very excited about our little experiment.  We hope to hear from future bucket heads!




Week 1 – Alki Beach

October 12, 2008

Our mission started after watching a PBS documentary   with a team of volunteers cleaning up river beds and then later that night watching Obama decimate McCain in a debate.  Not that decimation equates to rubbish picking, but it did ask us the almighty question of “what can we do to help?”

We decided to start small…”One bucket a week.” We also decided to start where we live, which is West Seattle.  It ended up being a gorgeously crisp October day so we headed down to beautiful Alki Beach. We figured if we were doing good deeds, we might as well have pretty scenery to look at as we rummage through the dirt and despair.

At first we were getting a tad bit disappointed.  I managed to find a few cigarette butts around park benches but the pickin’s were slim. Not only could we not find anything to remotely fill our buckets with, but the loot itself was rather disappointing.  No whiskey or beer bottles but a small smashed bottle of Tonic Water.  What I spied as a condom, with closer inspection, was actually a green apple lollipop wrapper.   

Finally Ben hit the mother-load by peering over the rock bulkhead.  He carefully climbed down to toss up the garbage (see pic) that was thrown maliciously over the side so the average do-er-well would never be able to locate by merely a casual stroll.  Beer bottles, cigars (this is still Alki Beach), pop cans, coffee cups (again, this is Seattle), and plastic galore!  

Whew!  One hour and two buckets later we headed home to sort, recycle and shower.  Feel free to share your bucket stories or pictures with us at  Of course we encourage everyone to get in the bucket!