Tag Archive | Seattle

Somewhere over the rainbow

Mother and I didn’t truly go somewhere over the rainbow, but I did get to take her to the Emerald City and beyond.

Our trip to Seattle, Victoria and the Yakima Valley was perfect in every way. Mother enjoyed everything and blossomed before my eyes, turning from a grieving, lost lady into an older version of the feisty woman we’ve known and loved.

Mother and I along the waterfront in Seattle. She got to see just enough drizzle that morning to get the weather stereotype, but most of our trip was glorious sunshine and warmth.

Mother and I at the waterfront in Seattle. She got to see just enough drizzle that morning to get the weather stereotype, but most of our trip was glorious sunshine and warmth.

I’m going to let the pictures and captions tell most of the story, so you’ll see lots of them. But let me add that though Mother didn’t receive any ruby slippers, we both were given beautiful ruby earrings – Mother’s birthstone! – by my friend Julia’s cousin Alyce and her husband, Clay, two of the finest people we’ve had the pleasure of meeting.

Alyce has the fabulous Design Theory Jewelry, an online store that once was a store-store in Ballard, the very neighborhood in which our friends Dave and Nora Nehls live   – a store that our friend Nora and I have visited, which is now the website from which I ordered earrings before I knew Alyce was Julia’s cousin.

Small-world coincidence? Fabulous luck? Semi-charmed life? Good things come to open hearts? I hope the latter, but I will say we are lucky in friends and family.

Mother with Dave and Nora Nehls, our darling friends who put us up for two nights and devoted their time to making my mommy's every dream come true. This is a fabulous alley off Pike's Place Market.

Mother with Dave and Nora Nehls, our darling friends who put us up for two nights and devoted their time to making my mommy’s every dream come true. This is a fabulous alley off Pike’s Place Market.

In that alley, which is also the site of ghost tours, you'll find the gum wall, an impromptu art installation that grew out of what some would see as a nuisance, used chewing gum.

In that alley, which is also the site of ghost tours, you’ll find the gum wall, an impromptu art installation that grew out of what some would see as a nuisance, used chewing gum.

Which proves almost anything, no matter how gross, can become amazing, if not beautiful.

Which proves almost anything, no matter how gross, can become amazing, if not beautiful.

Dave Matthews Love

Dave Matthews Love, chewing gum style

We headed to Canada via the Victoria Clipper, leaving the drizzle behind. We disembarked and walked to our waterfront hotel, the Coast Victoria Harbourside, as the skies were clearing and awoke to this view the next morning.

Couldn't ask for any better.

Couldn’t ask for anything better. Looks like a Maxfield Parrish, huh?

We just happened to be there for the Victoria Classic Boat Festival, so this was also part of our view.

The boats just kept sailing in.

The boats just kept sailing in.

After an early afternoon at Butchart Gardens,

A beauty in the wildly beautiful.

A beauty in the wildly beautiful

Mother and daughter in the arch

Mother and daughter in the arch – a kind woman insisted upon taking our picture.

Grammy discovers gelato in the Garden.

Grammy discovers gelato in the Garden.

we hopped off the tour bus at The Empress for high tea. We couldn’t begin to finish the spread, but we took dessert back for a late night snack in our lovely room.

High tea for two – ever so civilized for two rowdyish southern girls.

High tea for two – ever so civilized for two rowdyish southern girls.

The next morning the Clipper left about 10 minutes late, for which the captain apologized and offered $2 off champagne, which meant we had to have some – and put us next to a pod of frolicking orcas! People pay big money to see what we happened upon by happy coincidence.

Back in Seattle, Dave and Nora met us at the pier and off to Seattle Central by monorail we went. Mother enjoyed seeing the Space Needle, but the coolest things were the singing solar flowers.

Dave among the singing flowers. They glow at night and make you feel as if you're in Oz – or a Dr. Seuss book.

Dave among the singing flowers. They glow at night and make you feel as if you’re in Oz – or a Dr. Seuss book.

The next day it was off to Selah, in the Yakima Valley, where John, Kitty, Dave and Nora grew up and where Kitty lives on a glorious piece of land on a hill. We visited a few wineries. Mother got to meet Lisette, Jeff and Emma (Kitty’s daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter #1) and Kitty and Norm’s friends Nancy and Ron and Pam and Wayne.

Mother outside Windy Point Winery in the Yakima Valley.

Mother outside Windy Point Winery in the Yakima Valley.

Most importantly, our mothers finally got to meet and visit twice. Doris may not remember it for long – she may not remember by now – but it was lovely and they truly enjoyed it in the moment.

Doris and Willette, mothers of Pop and Lolly, at long last.

Doris and Willette, mothers of Pop and Lolly, at long last.

Mother and Kitty on our last day there

Mother and Kitty on our last day there

And I got to meet our new nephew, Farmboy Westley, the precious labradoodle baby.

Young Westley is the apple of Kitty's and Norm's eyes. And that's in the heart of Washington apple country, no small love.

Young Westley is the apple of Kitty’s and Norm’s eyes. And that’s in the heart of Washington apple country, no small love.

So-long selfie to mark a magical time.

So-long selfie to mark a magical time.

Now we’re back. Mother’s doctor’s appointment upon return showed her blood work to be considerably worse in some areas, not so good in others. But she’s still perky, upbeat and seems to have turned a corner. We’ve discussed Italy for her 80th in two years, if her health allows.

But no matter what, our trip showed her to be out of the woods emotionally. She had it in her all along. All she had to do was visit the Emerald City and kick up her heels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just breathe

Just breathe is good advice, and appropriate, considering my overnight flight back from SeaTac this week. Sometimes you need to slow down and get some perspective.

(Surely you know and get the connection, but in case you don’t, Pearl Jam is from Seattle. And Just Breathe is a Pearl Jam song, if you didn’t click the link.)

One bit of perspective I got was that, barring overseas flights when it can’t be helped, I’m too old for overnighters. Especially when they’re an hour late because you’re waiting on flight attendants (I’m talking to you, United) in a small terminal packed with unhappy travelers whose flights have been delayed or cancelled due to strange weather all over the country.

And when you have to semi-run in your Birkenstocks (ouch, blistered toe!) to catch your hop home from Houston at 7 a.m. The fun part was that I got to semi-run with Dero Sanford, my neighbor from down the street. Crazy. We even ended up on the same row on the flight from Seattle.

Enough about that. The real “just breathe” advice of this column is of a different vein. People you love get sick, get old, fade away both physically and mentally. At least you’ve got them, or at least you had them.

When fighting it does no good, stop. Do what you can to make things better but accept that you can’t work magic.

Revelation: We can do a heck of a lot, but we can’t work miracles. We can’t stop time. We can only breathe and take what we’ve got right now.

•••••••••••••••••••••

What we had last week was family time – and, for Kitty and me, some serious fun. Part of my duty – somebody’s got to do it – was play with her while she took a caretaking break and John spent time with his mother.

John’s still there and enjoying every minute with Mom. He and Kitty face some unpleasantness, but they’re excellent children and will do things right.

Doris and John are seriously into their Red Velvet Berry cobbler, our July 4 festive dessert.

Kitty and I lunched, shopped, got pedicures (my nail polish is called “108 Degrees,”  which was a no-brainer choice considering the weather here lately) and saw “Magic Mike” with Nancy and Pam. I’ll have to see it again here with my friends.

Oh, darn. Good-looking, talented male strippers. Twice. Again, somebody’s got to do it.

We had a fab Fourth of July in Selah, which included Independence Day for Little Bunny, whom Kitty and Norm rescued from one of their cats, who was using the tiny thing as a bean bag.

Little Bunny, moments before liberation.

The Inabas are nothing if not nurturing, and Bunny thrived. He hung around us a couple of days after liberation, but now he’s hopping around happy and big enough to survive cats and other critters, we hope.

The week started out coldish, but by Sunday it was 102 in the Yakima Valley, and we had a storm that rivaled Dorothy’s, minus the tornado. Monday it was back to Seattle, via Chinook Pass, which still has a crazy amount of snow for July.

Chinook Pass, where I busted my ass – soft snow and Birkenstocks don’t mix, especially on a steep incline.

But enough words. I’ll let photos take over from here. Tomorrow, historic Ellensburg and a close(ish) encounter with Mount Rainier.

Kitty waits to see if LIttle Bunny will exit his cage. He debated it for a while.

He’s out!

Little Bunny tests his freedom. Soon he was frisking all over.

Kitty, Ron and Wayne at our July 4 festivities. Kitty is a master gardener, as you might be able to tell.

Norm is a master farmer – Inaba Farms is big league. Check out the purple cauliflower.

Great-niece Emma (who made me a very cool bracelet as a gift), yours truly, and niece Lisette get in some serious girl talk.

Long as I can see the light

Norm and John and I spent an afternoon on the reservation, which has its own plates.

Whew. I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel of dread. And as long as I can see the light, I can take time to do a quick post.

It’s been a whirlwind week and a half, and though I wouldn’t miss it for anything, keeping up and catching up with school has been hellish. Got my 10-page policy paper in with 11 ½ hours to spare then actually went to Kroger and grocery shopped like a normal person, so this is my celebratory catch-up blog, before I review and take an online test later tonight.

Then there’s the presentation tomorrow night and catching up on reading for that class, a three-page paper due Sunday, a quiz Monday, and, and, and ….

Oh well. I got back in the exercise groove of baby weights yesterday morning and this afternoon with a Booty Barre DVD (love, love, love Tracey Mallett’s workouts). That always makes me feel more sane. If I can advise anyone on one thing it’s this: Set your exercise alarm and just do it. It’s the key to life, in my book. Blog. Whatever.

But back to the trip. Since I was able to download the pics from the real camera once we got home – right on time Monday afternoon WITH our luggage, both rarities – I can share some more Washington delights. Here they are:

Kitty and Norm recently moved from Yakima to this wonderful spot just up the hill from where Kitty and John grew up in Selah.

Ignore the cars in the Fred Meyer's parking lot and check out the trees and that sky. October in the desert.

Dave and Queen Nora with their darling grandkids – sibling 3 is arriving Nov. 3.

Outside Lakeview Cemetery. The ultra-high turned up boots are stylishly hiding a not-so-stylish hole from the leggings blowout I had that morning.

Sunday afternoon in Seattle.

Dave and Nora's little Dolly is a condo dog in Ballard these days.

As time goes by

In the morning, we’ll definitely be sleepless in Seattle, since we have to be at SeaTac by about 4:30 a.m. It’ll be back to the grind with me desperately working on my policy paper, but today was beautiful.

Yesterday our friends Dave and Nora generously drove over the mountains to Selah to fetch us. We said our goodbyes to Kitty and Norm, then stopped by John’s mom’s in Naches to hug Doris and Irene one more time, then drove back across the Cascades through Snoqualmie Pass, and on into Seattle.

We made a stop at a Columbia Winery in Woodinville (great Sangiovese), another at the home of their daughter, son-in-law and grandkids, also in Woodenville, then made our way back to Dave’s and Nora’s condo in Ballard.

Later we walked over to Jhan Jay Vegetarian Thai, a great newish restaurant, and ended up sitting a couple of tables over from Ron Reagan. Never was a fan of the old man, but Ron’s a cool dude, and it was fun to notice him there. The food was wonderful, too.

This morning Dave ran a race at the University of Washington while John, Nora and I met John’s cousin Joanne for coffee. Great to see her again.

John and his cousin Joanne

Steve Jobs tribute in a Ballard vintage shop

Mid-morning Nora and I hit the Ballard Market and artsy little shops (and may have had a close encounter with William H. Macy – if that friendly man wasn’t him, William H. has a near-twin) while the guys rested a bit, then we all piled into the car for some sight- and site-seeing.

One of our stops was Volunteer Park, where we climbed to the top of the ever-so-steep water tower.

Water Tower at Volunteer Park

Bruce and Brandon Lee

The first mayor of Seattle

Another was Lakeview Cemetery, specifically Bruce and Brandon Lee’s graves.  Sad, but lovely. We also stumbled across the first mayor of Seattle (not literally – no one stubbed a toe or anything).

More sight-seeing with tour guide Dave, then an early dinner/late-late lunch at historic Ray’s Cafe. Hummus and salad waterside. Can’t beat that.

Now we’re back in Ballard at the condo – I’ve done some homework and posted a video on Facebook of the guys dancing on a bench – and we’re just chilling.

And dreading the morning. Time goes by much too quickly in Seattle.