That time when Sears was the everything store

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Our trusty drill, bought at a Sears in the 1980s. Yes, it works beautifully and has helped assemble a lifetime of furniture and inserted many nails for wall hangings.

Do you remember the Sears Wish Book? Sears does. That’s why it reintroduced it online and in print for this year. You can read more about that hereContinue reading “That time when Sears was the everything store”

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One more eclipse story

And all that is now
And all that is gone
And all that’s to come
And everything under the sun is in tune
But the sun is eclipsed by the moon.

— Roger Waters, “Eclipse” from Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon”

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The sun eclipsed by the moon, Aug. 21, 2017, Albany, Ore. Photo by Debbie Cockrell

The eclipse coincided with my birthday. I took Amtrak to Albany, Ore., the day before and fretted as the train passed Salem, Ore., and the haze/clouds seem to get. thicker. But, I did see a hint of blue sky ahead. Jim had arrived a week ahead of time for his own work, but sending me pictures of scenes around town prior to my arrival. Continue reading “One more eclipse story”

The time to decide is today

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Screenshot of NASA’s home page Friday.

If you’re going to make a trip to an eclipse totality zone, say in Oregon, it’s go time. Here is my article today on how to get it together.

Madras, Ore., already is seeing the influx with a festival just outside town.

The forecast is promising: “Intermountain West still looks like the best viewing conditions, but the area from St. Louis to Nashville is a close second,” writes The Washington Post today.

And if you need any more convincing, here’s a TED Talk on why everyone owes it to themselves to see a total solar eclipse before they die. 

Just go. If you’re not up for a big car trip, get as close as you can to the path of totality. Go outside, put on your protective glasses, and just experience it. If you didn’t get the glasses, grab something with pinholes (a colander, for example.) Place an index card in front of you as the screen. Have your back to the sun and hold the colander beside your head, aiming at the card. Congratulations, you have an instant pinhole projector to watch the eclipse phases.

This is a phenomenon unlike any other. Don’t waste this moment with a normal schedule of a Monday doing mundane things, indoors or in a car.

Here’s a schedule of when it will be in your part of the country. Now you have no excuse for missing it.

Remember the Apollo moon landing. 1969 wasn’t such a jolly year for our country, either. But for that moment, when the astronauts landed, we stopped and watched, in awe.

This is one of those times.

Get outside.

More of my eclipse coverage here.

Grocery shopping as an experience

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My bag from Main & Vine’s opening day, 2016.

Grocery shopping is a personal thing. Grocery marketers would like to think they give you an experience.

We all know why we go to specific stores. There are intangibles beyond prices and convenience that draw people in. Costco and Sam’s Club has the warehouse-bulk niche. Trader Joe’s has the specialty items. Whole Foods makes you feel like even that Mac and Cheese box you bought at its store is healthy (though maybe not). Then there is just I-need-to-get-everything-on-my-list shopping, which Walmart, Kroger and Safeway are happy to help you with. Continue reading “Grocery shopping as an experience”

Why I commute

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The park that is practically in our backyard, one of two state parks less than a few miles from where we live.

When I was a kid, it seemed unheard of the time spent in people’s cars commuting in places like Los Angeles.

Los Angeles is here.

These are my latest articles (for one I partnered with fellow reporter Kate Martin) and what people face on the road working the Olympia-to-Seattle corridor. Some drive from the Oregon border. Daily. Others face shorter commutes, but also see bottlenecks just the same on I-5.  Continue reading “Why I commute”

Let’s talk grocery stores for a minute

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Have you been to a Trader Joe’s lately?

I remember when they opened on my birthday in Olympia a few years ago. We stayed away for weeks knowing we wouldn’t be able to get into the parking lot. When we finally did go, we had to circle the lot a few times, park far away and then once inside, you had to walk. And keep walking. There were so many people it was like being in a guided art exhibit where you are allowed to linger only a few seconds on each piece. The aisles were jammed and in perpetual motion.

That is a grocery retailer’s dream scenario. Not so much for a consumer.  Continue reading “Let’s talk grocery stores for a minute”

The delivery race is on

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This is my kind of “Keep Calm and Carry On.” 

 

So this has turned into two weeks of an Amazon beat for me, and it never ceases to surprise me.

First, the company had an impromptu hiring event in Tacoma.

Then we needed to tell people where to find work if Amazon didn’t hire them.

Then, Amazon decided to announce they are opening a new warehouse in Sumner.

All of this after I’d drafted a Sunday piece on how not everyone experiences Prime the same way, even in neighboring ZIP codes.

Then I got an alert this morning that Walmart is now testing a program where employees deliver customer packages after work, effectively blowing up the two-day model that was the baseline for “Prime” shipping. (We added a box at the end of my Sunday story on this).

And Amazon thought drones were a game changer. What’s next?