Monday's Meander: Chihuly Garden & Glass

A “contained ceiling” installation of glass art by Dale Chihuly

One of the big sights in Seattle is the Dale Chihuly glass exhibition housed long term in Seattle Center, established in 2012. Marc and I enjoyed it at its inception that year and were pleased to visit again. Born and raised in nearby Tacoma, Chihuly is world renowned for his organic, imaginative glass formations. A major installation of site-specific work is Chihuly Over Venice, his glass sculptures installed over canals and piazzas;he has installed several other major works. His work is included in over 200 museum collections around the world.

Botanic and oceanic forms largely highlight the Seattle exhibit, and large and small bowls inspired by Native American basketry also are significant. The colors of his work are vibrant and saturated, the forms often sinuous. There are eight galleries represented here, as well as a Glasshouse and Garden. As during the original visit, I was swept happily into his original, curious world which shone with a radiant light. Enjoy this fantastical meandering!

Space Needle behind the Chihuly sculpture

Monday's Meanders: Nob Hill Shopping District

Mainly one long street of commerce, Nob Hill in Portland is a certain kind of shopping experience: quaint shops, historical buildings, several great restaurants and year-round, brightly lit streets–and pricey goods. I like visiting NW 23rd Street a few times a year. I went out awhile with Marc on Sunday to explore many of the shops and drop some cash on Christmas family goodies.

Strolling along arm in arm, we took in colorful sights and energetic, happy sounds of a seasonal spirit that is genial, not superficial–despite the emphasis on material goods. So it was less the stuff we saw and more the meander and chatting with peaceful intention. It did wonders for my case this year of mild to moderate holiday blues.

It can be taxing this time of year if you are missing people or life stress presses harder upon you. But for me it is an opportunity for meditation, as well as a potentially happy experience. Sometimes I find there is a need to become even more attentive to smallest instructive moments and random, kindly incidents–to surprising or moving moments– or just make any kind of fun and roll with it. And then see what can come of a positively challenged viewpoint. Number one help: getting out of my own way (and out of my head)!

So off we went for a couple of hours later afternoon into early eve. The temperature was brisk and no rain fell–folks were amiable, jostling and pausing as were we. Even sales people had a good attitude, a good will that belied their likely long hours and hard work. It was enough to give me a boost amid my continued Thanksgiving day accident ramifications, which have rather drained me. A favorite stop is a store called The Meadows, which sells high end salts, chocolates, wines and bitters. I go for the superior chocolate since I don’t do booze and fancy salt does little for me.

I spent…more than I care to say…on a bunch of bars for my sister, Allanya. She is definitely worth it! I took her the treats today and we had a blast hanging out– she was, as easily predicted, delighted with her early gift. Since she has increasing short term memory loss, every moment with her counts–my best friend as well as sister.)

This is a fine example of prime commercial real estate on that street–sorry, I don’t recall the name of the apartments. Clearly they are historical and well maintained, attractive, almost certainly sought after. I would not hesitate to live here, perhaps on the top floor to take in the view of not only NW Portland. But also the beautiful West Hills that rise up about everything– even with dense population–and as they continue a steep ascent, they finally flare above the NW and SW city skyline. The woods spread out and deepen in Forest Park.

As an aside, our GPS “director” sent us on a wild goose chase to our daughter’s home afterwards, and we became well acquainted with those wild curvy roads in a blinding darkness as we navigated our way bit by bit. Holding my breath here and there as well as my seat, I admit to having shouted out a time or two, toward the road and my husband… and we had to rediscover our peace of minds again. A visit with our twin grand-babies restored a great deal.

I will end with some photos not from that immediate area but that I like, anyway. One is from a plaza within my city. Another two are taken at my late brother’s wife’s house, which is an old house with lots of dark wood and interesting spaces but well maintained–just unique and warmly welcoming. I saw her recently; we enjoy our visits a lot. The place always looks a bit like Christmas inside with amber hue and colored light strings hung here and there…I just want to share a cozy corner. I’m thankful she is part of my family.

And lastly, a shot of my current dining table tableau for Christmastime. I will be adding to it–a fun thing I like to do.

I will say once again: it is deeply satisfying to have an array of persons and moments to embrace during this Season… and every day. I do hope you are finding that true, as well. If not, create a way to make it better, and please do ask for help if you need it. Someone out there cares, I guarantee it.

Blessings your way.

Monday's Meander/Dreaming of Snow

I haven’t been meandering afar since I had the Auto Accident on Thanksgiving Day. Caps are used here due to the effects seeming highlighted as if it was the event of the year. Which it was not–my daughter’s twins’ arrival with immediate and subsequent amazing baby-ness won that prize. I just didn’t know it’d take so long to get everything tied up around this car loss. Egads.

For every day errands I’ve been using my husband’s newer, sportier Mazda (my old Hyundai was, alas, quite pedestrian in comparison yet loved) while he was on a trip, thankfully. But no interesting jaunts have occurred–too busy talking to insurance adjusters often every day, and recovering from neck and shoulder pain…yes, I am addressing my irritation and seeking more gratitude. Because I can walk, I can talk; no one else was really hurt!

BUT I find good moments and today I’ve dug into photo archives and looked about. This is what I found from about the same date but in 2016: snow! More blanketed the area as weeks passed that winter, a real windfall of a snow year.

We’ve had far less precipitation than normal for early winter Portland metro area- finally it has begun to rain more. But since we now live at 800 feet versus about sea level, I expect the snow to arrive. The roads are hilly, sinuous and wooded out here so I’m not sure if I’ll welcome it as much as I think. Especially after the Auto Accident. Have to put on my suit of bravery when behind the wheel of my new car when I get it–and take it slow and easy. As an old Michigander, I know NOT to brake hard or fast in snowy and icy conditions. Still, please drive safely during the upcoming holidays, wherever you are.

These few random shots from the old neighborhood cheer me, and nudge me more toward Christmassy things. I am about ready to get on with the joyful parts, and I am keeping track of blessings, praying for stamina and guidance, giving lots of hugs–and getting quite a lovely bunch, too.

Monday Meander: A Mishap and a Few South Carolinian Views

A scene from 701 Center for Contemporary Art buildings, Columbia, SC

It has taken me a bit to sort pictures from a trip to North and then South Carolina over a week ago. For one thing, there was all that prep for Thanksgiving to deal with–the shopping, cleaning, table decor prep, contacting family members. Any holiday feast asks more of us than usual and that is part of the cheery hullabaloo.

However, I additionally dealt with an unexpected event–a car accident on Thanksgiving afternoon. My well-loved Hyundai Elantra, nine years old, is to be salvage soon. But a 20 yo grandchild (who I was picking up for the dinner) and I escaped with little injury. Well, my neck and shoulders are feeling the strain since last Thursday. Still, we both are fortunate to just lose a vehicle, to get up and walk away. Talk about gratitude…We had the planned feast at our home. It seemed, once all 14 of us settled down, the best thing was to go on and enjoy as we could. I am so glad we were all together.

Meanwhile, I still am trying to figure out what went wrong. I may never know. I still need to deal with insurance maters and find another car. Unsurprisingly, I’m not in the mood to car shop….But I am in the mood to share happy pictures from the S.C. part of my trip.

First up: The Gourmet Shop in Columbia. Stop by if you can–it is a unique spot where we found great cheese and teas. Stylishly fun inside and out.

The next shots are from the 701 Center for Contemporary Art, again in Columbia (all photos are taken there this time), where the works in CCA SC Biennial 2019 is exhibited. Daughter Naomi has two art installations there, as below. The first is a photo of “Personal Space Capsule” created while in flight on a plane, exploring how we may experience and psychic space in tight spots. The second is a small end part of the sprawling piece, “Boundings”: think incarceration of immigrants/families plus how people in general erect/alter/remove boundaries. Her work tends to be abstract, philosophically engaging, full of social justice queries and statements; she often uses re-purposed or handmade materials. (More variety of her work can be found on Instagram @invisiblesculpture and her website NaomiJFalk.com.)

Old doorway and wall in the same historical building
Newer plus old

Perhaps surprising to some, we enjoyed our visit to the Richmond Library Main. The architecture is contemporary, quite beautiful. Their services are impressive with an auditorium, cafe, a variety of classes, work spaces and studios to create, as well as several imaginative spaces to read within. There was also a wonderful quilt exhibit going on in the entry area. (There were many people milling about, so I waited to capture images.)

Husband Marc gazing out huge, unusual windows
What child wouldn’t like to hang out here with books and beasties? Me, too!
A work space/studio

I had a blast hanging out with her–art and artists all the time! But Naomi actually flew out to visit us for Thanksgiving; she gave a guest lecture at Portland State University, as well. It was great that she could be in the Pacific NW for a week with siblings, nieces and nephews and, of course, us parents.

A parting shot from Naomi’s place: a pillow case she designed/created and a linen dress with draped scarves that hung there the whole time I visited…like a simple, yet configured art installation. See you later, Na!