Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Dinner with the Strains across the Square

Our neighbors, the Strains, live across Pioneer Square from us. We can wave or flashlight morse code from our windows. Annie Strain has a great blog about life in Pioneer Square.

Jackson Strain is the same age as Naomi. They are two. They had a great time riding around the kitchen while Jeff, Annie, David and I enjoyed a delicious lamb dinner. Jeff was one of the founders of ArenaNet in 2000 and in the Fall of 2009, he founded Undead Labs. Here is a speech of his about what it takes to create successful Massively Multiplayer Online Games.

Another fun link is the story of when Annie, having just moments before given birth to Madeline, looked up to see Jeff feverishly tapped away at his keyboard, "Are you working on that damn game during the birth of our daughter?" Jeff answered sheepishly, "It's not 'that damn game' Annie, it's Starcraft!"

Annie Strain is on the Pioneer Square Revitalization Committee and is making sure our beautiful neighborhood continues to thrive. In the 12 years that I have lived in the Smith Tower, Pioneer Square has had opportunities to create a much needed playground in Occidental Square, an ice skating rink by the Pergola, and a grand structure to (sort of an Arc de Triomphe) replace the "sinking ship" garage that would still provide parking below ground but on the street level it would be a great archway framing the entrance to Occidental. I love all of these visionary ideas, but the Arc de Triomphe, an idea that William Justen dreamed up, is my personal favorite as it would connect 2nd Avenue to the heart of Pioneer Square with a vista into Occidential's green menagerie. Over Pioneer's Square 150 plus years, many new additions have kept the nation's best-preserved historical district authentic and relevant. The way I see it, a grand arch would become a new entrance to Seattle’s first – and liveliest – neighborhood.

Daniel Strain is 10 and introduced Simone and Naomi to his guinea pigs.

Madeline Strain, who is 12, and quite a rider herself, became a human "filly" for Simone to ride on. The kids were on a roll.

What amazing luck to have such a great urban family only a block away. I am in heaven.

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