Monday’s Meander: A Seattle Visit with Sweet Returns

I have several hundred pictures of Seattle to go through (on a new computer–learning its ways but so far, much better!) but want to share a few right now. Though we go a couple times a year at least (less since my sister and brother-in-law passed plus my niece and husband relocated to Texas…) we were excited to visit. Brisk, moist sea air that can be smelled and felt on the skin while walking up and down city center’s steep hills, coupled with beauty of Pacific waters and Cascade and Olympic Mountains ; the high energy of an innovative, bustling city with unique neighborhoods; the variety of architecture, shops, cultural options–well, you get the idea. And it’s the Pacific Northwest, our beloved home, only bigger and farther north!

It was a brief meander, a refreshing three days. The photos above and below are views from our hotel 25th floor room–with a little magnification–with some loss of clarity, sorry to note. Note the ferry on Elliott Bay (part of the more vast Puget Sound) glimpsed between buildings. The famous Space Needle, left of center, built for the 1962 World’s Fair, rises above and seemingly between several skyscrapers and has an observation deck at 520 feet. Marc suspected our room at the Renaissance Hotel (excellent beds and appointments) was nearly as high–alas, we were two hundred feet lower and that was high enough…I have night time pictures to best demonstrate that in another post.

The Olympics show up more readily in the larger 4th picture, and we were fortunate to have some sunnier days so they better showed off their splendor here and there.

The beauteous Mt. Rainier of the Cascade Mountain Range, seen from the inimitable Queen Anne neighborhood, rises above the city, above. A bit dusky here–as well as misty, usually the case in winter. It is 63 miles from Seattle, but we can see it from Portland at over 130 miles without massive cloud coverage. Additional info: Mt. Rainier is 14,411 feet as opposed to “our” mountain, Mt.Hood, which is 11,250 ft. Both are enthusiastically and frequently scaled. About 10,000 people attempt to climb Rainier; 5,000 perhaps succeed. Mt. Rainier is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world, and last erupted in 1894.

Here are few other teasers as I work on the bulk of photos later this week. They are from a variety of sights, from heavily visited Pike Place Market to Chihuly Garden and Glass, a fascinating art museum; to random city streets and the city’s vibrant waterfront and a marvelous outdoor sculpture park. And there is even more to come in future posts. Pus, I feel better restored on every level. May I suggest that when you get rough around the edges and feel worn out, don’t take a nap–take a trip!

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.