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Dec 15, 2015

Ellensburg is the home of Central Washington University. I have been lucky enough to be a student there twice. The building was constructed in the late 1800's, and makes a lovely center piece for the town. The town is quite small really; there are only about 18,000 residents. It is odd, actually, to think of such a large university being in a small town. This happened because, in the 19th century, Ellensburg made a bid(1) to be the political capital of the state, but lost. As a consolation(2), the university was built. The rest of the town is agricultural and fairly modern, with a few historical buildings here and there. I have a soft spot(3) for both the town and the university because of my good memories of being a student. Now I have another reason for visiting the town. Two of my children play AAU basketball, which is a non-school league. Last weekend their teams played in the university gym, so we spent the whole weekend there. Just outside of the gymnasium is a very large statue of a wildcat which is the mascot of the university. It was covered with a thin sheet of frost, and looked very intimidating. There were people everywhere, mainly students, of course. Above the gymnasiums is a jogging track, and next door is a huge weight room, and a climbing wall. It is a wonderful and useful modern addition to this historic place. The weekend came and went quickly, with lots of wins and losses, and before long, we had driven over the mountain pass and were back at home in Wenatchee. 

1. 'To make a bid' is to ask to win/receive a contract. We also 'ask' for bids from companies to see which one can give us the best service.

a. Many countries made their bids to host the next Olympics.

b. We asked for bids from several builders, to see which one could build our garage for the most reasonable price.

c. At the auction, the highest bid for the antique chair was $1000.

2. 'Consolation' is a gift of some kind to compensate for a loss. The verb 'to console' is to offer kind words to someone when they have lost something.

a. The loser of the competition received a consolation prize of a laptop.

b. I consoled her after her pet died.

c. The policeman gave the child a teddy bear, as a consolation, until they could find her parents.

3. 'To have a soft spot for something/someone' is to have positive/ tender feelings sometimes related to memories.

a. I have a soft spot for the college because I have good memories of being a student.

b. I have a soft spot for cats; we always had cats when I was a child.

c. They have a soft spot for Madrid; they first met and later got married there.

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