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November 2, 2007, Via Della Pergola 7, Perugia, Italy, 10:30am.  Amanda Knox, a West Seattleite with ties to Vashon Island, arrives at her apartment; she had hurried home to shower and change, having been gone all night.  It was a holiday weekend so she and Raffaele Sollecito, who was waiting at back his apartment, were taking a drive to visit the ancient Roman city of Gubbio.

“Honey, there’s a whale in the yard! Grab the camera,” I shouted to Odin around 7:30 on Sunday night, March 27. A juvenile Gray whale glided sideways, barely 10 feet off our beach, waving tail flukes and a pec flipper. S/he had eelgrass draped over the pec flipper, suggesting s/he was bottom foraging in shallow water for tasty tidbits: crustaceans, worms, et al. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2007, Halloween.  The university students in Perugia, Italy are in a holiday mood.  Meredith Kercher, Amanda Knox and their friends attended a Halloween pub-crawl until the wee hours and were looking forward to the three-day weekend.

Amanda Knox and her friend, Raffaele Sollecito, were wrongly convicted in 2009 of murdering her British roommate and friend, Meredith Kercher.  They are serving 26-year and 25-year prison sentences near Perugia, Italy.  Rudy Guede, the real killer, is serving only 16 years for the murder; his sentence shortened after the Perugian court encouraged him to ‘apologize’ to the Kercher’s for murdering their daughter.  I am not kidding.

As we approach the growing season, remember that one of the best things you can do to sustain your family in an uncertain future is to grow a vegetable garden.  This week, I’m deviating from the usual format to bring a timely message.  If you are considering buying seeds, I have some important information for you to consider before making your purchase. 

It is surreal watching Curt Knox on television, look away and normalcy resumes on Vashon.  Look back and Curt is talking about his daughter’s appeal, cautiously optimistic that an upcoming independent review of the DNA will exonerate Amanda and her friend, Raffaele Sollecito.  The two are serving prison sentences, near Perugia, Italy, for the murder of Amanda’s flatmate, Meredith Kercher, in November of 2007.

It was a shock.  It was a mystery. It was a confusion.  There were not people in conversation. Deep soul searching, transparent conversation. 

Newsweek described Vashon Island author Shauna James Ahern’s first book, “Gluten Free Girl” published by John Wiley & Sons in the US and Canada, as “A delightful memoir of learning to eat superbly while remaining gluten-free.” Her book has inspired me to broaden my cooking repertoire to include more kinds of gluten free grains than I even knew about before, and to experience some delicious flavors new to me.

There is a universal truth in the first world working community.   If you have had a fitful night’s sleep, fifteen minutes before the alarm is scheduled to go off you will find the most comfortable position you have ever discovered in your life and fall into a deep sleep.  

We’re especially blessed here in Puget Sound country with fresh wild salmon almost the year around. Right now coho and kings show up in the seafood markets. Kings are reddest, most flavorful of fish, and the coho and sockeye vie for second place. They sell for a bit less, too. I bought a 2-pound side of coho at an affordable $6 a pound. It gave us six servings with a bit leftover for a salmon salad for two the next day.  

A new teacher in an urban setting, he stands in the hall with the principal.  A group of kids dash by.  He makes a derogatory remark based on a stereotype.  The principal says, “If you’re going to work here, you’re going to have to have soft eyes….You’re going to have to see the whole picture.” 

“Mom”, my son said. “I think we’re in the same room we were for Caity”.  Sure enough. I opened the door and there sat my son in the same room he sat in when he was nine and holding his sister for the first time.