Which PNW badges do you have?


There are certain things you find yourself doing –  eventually – after you move to the Pacific Northwest.

I think of these as inevitable, precious little moments which make up the transformation from a visitor to a resident but I think should also be rewarded with sweet little cloth badges much like the ones the Girl Guides get for their efforts in advancing their skill sets and life experiences. With incentive like that I would be sure to try many extra things I would otherwise leave to another day. Like maybe traversing a rock face with crampons and ropes while sporting killer ourdoorsy shoes and slugging back vitamin water while calling out to my dreadlocked friend that this was pretty rad and I feel totally alive. A little badge is all I would need, I’m sure. Well. It would help, a bit.

While maybe not that one, there are many badges I have already proudly collected and pinned to my PNW sash.

I have the badge for “Yoga Classes”, naturally. That one may as well be pinned to every resident as soon as they arrive.  Then there’s a special one for feeling pain in a yoga class while looking at a nice view of mountains/forest/sky and I have recently earned the badges for “Chanting the Vibrations of my Various Chakras”. Yeah baby. One day I might even get the badge for doing “Yoga on a Beach” but I will need to get the badge for “Overcoming Agoraphobia” first.

I have the badges for “Pronouncing Quinoa Correctly”, for “Holding a Potluck Dinner” (but not yet the “Potluck for a Cause”), “Picking up Hitchhikers”, and the very hard to get “Actually Reading the Book for Book Club” badge.  I have collected almost the full suite of “Friend & Acquaintance” badges: including the Artist, Eco-warrior, Academic, Carpenter, Musician, Publisher, Writer, Graphic designer, Movie maker, Teacher (including school, yoga and reflexology),  Entrepreneur, Restauranteur, Real Estate Agent and Roller-Derby Team Member badges. I have various house guest badges, volunteering badges, hiking badges, ice skating badges, wild berry picking badges, badges for helicopter parenting, and also the ones for lax parenting. I am especially proud of the one I got for letting my kids run wild in the forest while I check facebook.

I accidentally got my badge for saying “right on” without even noticing it. And I said “toque” once which I believe is also badge.

Badges my PNW friends feel I need to earn which I may consider: The all important “Midnight Skinny Dipping in the Lake” badge, the “Road Trip to Portland” badge and the  (terrifying) “Playing a Musical Instrument in front of People (Not just Trees)” badge. I still really want to get those badges for “Orca Sighting”, but not so much for “Bear Sighting”, or “Cougar in Your Backyard Sighting”.

Badges I haven’t got, but might happen any day: “Hitting or being Hit by a Deer” badge. Or the “Tattoo & Piercing” badge. Or the “Beaten-up Old Car Full of Moss Owner” badge.

It’s going to be a long time before I get the “Saying you Love the Beaches at Tofino” badge, and the “Complaining about Snow Badge” but otherwise I feel pretty good about my “Fearful in a Windstorm and Power Outage Badge”.

This afternoon I am working on my “Kale Chip” badge. I have already attempted this one and failed, making something that would be called a kale flap, or a kale rag. I have specific instructions from one of my chef friends (Friend and Acquaintance set: “Chef Friend who makes Incredible Jam” badge) to cook them slow at low. She makes a very fine kale chip so I am feeling positive.  I will be stitching that little badge on by night-fall.

My kids are going for their own set of PNW badges (Racoon spotting, Bird feeder making, Lake Swimming, Camping, Matted Hair, Friends with Weird Names and Norwalk Virus to name a few). They both have the unlikely “Loving Kale” badge – who would have guessed? I guess the PNW creeps up on you.

40 Responses to “Which PNW badges do you have?”

  1. Kirsty

    I sure loved those badges in Brownies. I love looking through the book to see which one I was going to try for next. Today I am nailing the “Avoid the Food Shopping” badge and working on the “Knitting Cures All” badge. My kids each have the gold badge for “Avoiding Personal Hygiene”. Love to you all.

    Reply
  2. Snufkin

    The badges concept is hilarious! And further verifies a lifelong suspicion (coming from Northern California) that British Columbia and WA/OR/NorCal have more in common with one another than other states from our respective countries.

    Reply
  3. Kirst

    I really hope you WILL stitch those badges though form on the track would suggest this WIP might be a long time in the works….maybe that’s just a melway-type-badge.Lovely to hear your voice again Claire and imagine you & your rather wicked smile tip tapping this post on the Mac. xxx

    Reply
  4. Nicola

    Oh this made me laugh. I’m Australian but I lived on Bainbridge Island for a year twenty five years ago, had me a hippy homebirth in a log cabin there.Now all the years have passed and I can see that it’s essence is unchanged. They were happy days for me and i hope they are for you too.

    Reply
  5. Shauna

    Bloody hilarious, you paint a great picture of the place, love it! Fab redesign too 🙂

    Reply
  6. Melissa G

    This is one of my favourite blog entries from you.I was once a brownie but didn’t long enough to earn badges except for my birthday badge. But I sometimes imagine making my own fabric badges for things like roller skating [I love skating on quads], and my first failed attempt of baking a birthday cake [monumental disaster worthy of an award].

    Reply
  7. Michelle

    Methinks you need a camp blanket to sew all those badges on. Just think of how warm it will keep you when you earn your ‘honorary owl at brownie camp’ badge!

    Reply
  8. Suzanne Little

    Very funny post by Claire! We earned our Carden badge — Old car that sits in the yard so long a garden grows in it. Blackberry Winemaking Badge also done. I am working on my “Judging the baking contest at the Fall Fair badge!”

    Reply
  9. Suzanne Little

    oops my comment started off wrong – I was going to post it on facebook but it got too long so posted it here. feel free to edit the first sentence out!

    Reply
  10. shannon

    So glad you are back, although Im guessing you may also need to wear the ‘one blog post a month’ badge. Better than nothing hippy!I also wish you to get the hitting a deer badge. just for fun.

    Reply
  11. Kim

    The further north you go the greater the glory in these things. For example, I have the “Midnight Skinny Dipping in a Lake IN THE YUKON” badge, which I am very proud of… But kale? No way, man.

    Reply
  12. Jocelyn Ferguson

    okay, how about the simultaneous killing of ants, caterpillers, and mice? although, i have been known to swerve the car to avoid frogs, deer, and hitchhiking hippies

    Reply
  13. jen storer

    ‘Wear your badge and we shall know one another at once’. That’s what Enid Blyton always said. Inspired, hilarious post Claire! Makes me want to go bear spottin’ and hikin’ and toss my hairdryer in the lake… jxx

    Reply
  14. Saskia

    Great post Claire! My favourite was the ‘Actually Reading the Book for Book Club’ badge (we tend to read wine labels at ours). Today I’ve earned my ‘Made my hairdresser visibly wince at the sight of me after going 4 months without a haircut’ badge.PS. Your re-design looks fab.

    Reply
  15. paula

    I just loved really, really, really a lot your post.Thanks for giving me such good mood! 🙂

    Reply
  16. Karan

    In Washington we’ll have to get a badge for the ability to pronounce the many Salish words naming places and geography…ie Puyalllup.

    Reply
  17. Carolina

    Don’t forget the “own a flock of chickens” badge!

    Reply
  18. Kirsten

    My daughter would get a good PNW badge “Dance naked in the rain” I also would love to get a “wildcraft your own dinner.” badge.

    Reply
  19. Cassandra

    Love the new pics on your site. Ah kale chips, all the rage. I cannot find kale here in France, or rather it’s not the same kale. I blame that reason for my first attempt at kale chips failing miserably except 4 stingy pieces. That of which my 2 year old son ate with much gusto. The largest consumption of greens he’s eaten in 6 months! Must get the kale chips going, really.xxx.c

    Reply
  20. Nella

    Someone needs to have fun illustrating these badges. Anyone? Bueller?

    Reply
  21. Alison

    Yes YES! Reward where reward is due I say. I’m putting my hand up for the ‘Creative Procrastinating’ badge and the ‘Always saying Never Again and Never Meaning it’ Badge. You can have the ‘Kale Chips’ badge. That sounds really hard. x

    Reply
  22. Emira

    So delightful. Now I’m going to think of life ’round these parts as badges. Kale chips is certainly a thing currently. I’ll be seeing life in terms of badges for a while now. “The finding 101 things to do/cook with zucchini come August” is another food necessity (though I believe true anywhere zucchini grows, not just around here). “Cooking a dinner party in which no one person has the same food allergy (but everyone has at least one),” would be another. I think this would be a fabulous project to illustrate. Thanks for the giggle.

    Reply
  23. Andrea

    I have the “saw a moose”, saw a bear”, “rode a skidoo”, “saw a bald eagle”, “drank huckleberry dawuiti”, “played frisbee golf”, “picked and ate sorel mushrooms” (yum), ate the deer my friend hunted, gutted, butchered, marinated, and cooked”……priest lake Idaho pacific north west badges, do they count?

    Reply
  24. Betty

    I would be denying my true PNW roots if I didn’t suggest a coffee badge, and where would one begin with that one? Wait, just add “with coffee” to all the badges. That should cover it! 😉

    Reply
    • Claire

      So true! I am getting my “approving blog comments when I should be planting vegetable starts – with coffee” badge right now.

      Reply
  25. ajd

    Hilarious. I just earned the Transform Azuki Beans To Paste For Dessert-Making badge, & Stay Calm Berkeley Has Hyenas In The Hills badge.

    Reply
  26. Julia

    Love this post!! I’ve live in Seattle 17 years and am surprised at how many badges I have – yes, Kale Chips is a recent acquisition. I’ll proudly display it on one of my many microfleece vests. I was going to link to the Pemco “Northwest Profiles” ad campaign like Kate above – so funny. One of my favorites is “50 degree shirt off guy” and “Smug Hybrid Driver”.

    Reply
  27. Alicia P.

    “letting my kids run wild in the forest while I check facebook”I seriously just laughed (it came out like a squawk) so loud it woke the dog up. That’s awesome.

    Reply
  28. Ann C

    Ha, my badge would be for “Kombucha Brewing Without Fear” .

    Reply
  29. PatchworkPottery

    I have never heard of these badges before but they sound fun! There are plenty of raccoons & skunks in our backyard. How did the kale chips turn out? How about the entomology badge of catching caterpillars and releasing butterflies? or the organic gardener badge of killing slugs with beer?! Hugs, L

    Reply
  30. Sophie Hansen

    Hello, I loved reading this post and hearing all about life in the PNW! Sounds quite different to ours here in Orange, Australia although we have lots of deer here too (here on our farm). Anway, lovely to read your writing again and looking forward to the next post!Sophie

    Reply
  31. Ange

    Oh man, you’ve made me laugh out loud…being a past-Salt-Springer myself and married to one (but living in Melbourne), I can TOTALLY relate…..

    Reply

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