Travel Day

Sunday was my travel day back to Seattle, then I have Monday here, and then early Tuesday morning I’m off to Panama City. That means not only a turnaround of laundry, but a completely different wardrobe to account for going from a cold to a hot climate. And my umbrella needs to go in my bag.

I’ll be happy to be back in Seattle just before Thanksgiving, for some requisite R&R and in time to put up a small Christmas tree. I will have two small helpers for decorating assistance. 🙂

Minneapolis in November

When I told my friend Emily that I’d do a board retreat for the non-profit where she serves as board chair, I said I’d gladly come to Minneapolis but not in the dead of winter.

The temperature on Saturday morning as we set out early was 15 degrees. The day never got above 21 degrees.  Ice on the roads and walks. Snow showers, that fine hard bits kind of snow that happens when it’s very cold.

Felt like dead of winter to me. 🙂

Panama is going to be 85 degrees, a swing of 70 points. Seattle is somewhere in between, with a range of 35-50 degrees throughout the day.

Snow in Minneapolis

I had checked the Minneapolis weather and so knew it was going to be cold, but snow never occurred to me. Happily it’s just what we in Rochester would have called “a dusting”. Cars are slipping and sliding — there was an accident on the street adjacent to my friends’ home. That used to happen in Rochester too, with a first snow. People initially forget how to drive when the roads are slick.

I don’t have boots with me, and truth to tell I don’t any more have footwear that fits — I haven’t lived in snow country for eight years. That’s another weird bit about aging: your feet can get bigger. Arches fall or something.

The board retreat starts on Friday, with a visit to the offices of the non-profit for whom I’m conducting the program, and a supper meeting with the design team from board and staff who have helped me plan. Saturday is the full-participation event, with people from the board, staff, and affiliate agencies.

Getting to Know Seattle: Last of the Fall Colors

I hope you’re not getting tired of our fall colors. I’m not getting tired of finding these lovely palettes when I do get out for a walk, declining in numbers though they are as we move into November.

The march toward the winter solstice is hard for me, as the days are shorter and darker and there is too little sun.  I know that some people find the gloomy weather restful and part of the cycle of nature, but not I. I looked hopefully at the weather forecast for Panama City, as I am headed there mid-month to visit with Minga. Alas, no luck there either. November is the rainiest month of the rainy season in Panama, with an average of 250mm or almost ten inches of rain. The long term weather forecast for the days that I am there show a 90% chance of thunderstorms every day of my planned visit.  Staying dry is not easy, as the drenching rain pretty much overwhelms an umbrella, and a raincoat is simply too hot. I’ll wear quick dry fabrics and use an umbrella anyway and hope for the best.

In the meantime, I delight in finding fall leaves wherever I can. When I stop posting pics like this, you’ll know that in Seattle, our brightly colored leaves are all down.

Getting to Know Seattle: Still Fall Color

We’re getting into Seattle’s really drippy season, so I make a point of being outdoors whenever I can. The week started out nice and I was a little light on my exercise last week, so I set off early in the morning walking to breakfast at the Crumpet Shoppe — ricotta cheese and lemon curd of course, plus two large cups of coffee. I walked from there to Pike Place Market, then to Eileen Fisher on Pine, then walked home. I was enticed by the opening weekend of Beautiful Boy that was playing downtown, so I took the bus back down the hill, saw the film, caught the bus home, and grabbed dinner at Oaxaca on top of Queen Anne hill. All in, I walked 20,213 steps , or just over 9 miles. The rain came on and off — it was a deluge when I got off the bus and ran across Queen Anne Avenue to the restaurant — but during the day I caught some gorgeous lingering fall color.

The colorful bouquets are in Pike Place market.

Flowers at Pike Place all through the winter months.

Happy Halloween 2018!

We’re well into Seattle’s rainy season, and alas, Halloween is rainy. Kids here walk up and down Queen Anne Avenue in costume, where local merchants hand out candy. A few come around in the neighborhoods as well, so this year I stocked up. I chose Jerry’s favorite, KitKat, and my favorite, Almond Joy. 🙂 Pics of the kids tomorrow.

Jerry was extremely disciplined about what he ate — no junk food for him, and lord knows no candy. Halloween was the one time of year he let his guard down. He did all the grocery shopping, and around the 1st of October he’d come home with a couple of bags of bite-sized candy bars, including KitKats. He’d dump them in the “Halloween bowl” ready for the month’s end. Day by day, he’d grab one or two or three, and by the third week in October he’d come home from grocery shopping with new bags,  having needed to replenish our supply and refill the empty bowl. I never said a word, and was actually glad to see him indulge this once in a very great while.


Film Review: Free Solo

I got to the theater showing Beautiful Boy early enough to nip into one of the other films, Free Solo, for the last and most exciting 20 minutes. “Free solo” refers to rock climbers who ply their skill without benefit of ropes or any protective gear. This film is about Alex Honnold’s successful summit of 3000 foot El Capitan, a sheer rock face that takes immense skill and strength to climb even with protective equipment. Honnold climbed El Capitan with nothing more than a bag of chalk hanging from his waist. The climb took him just over four hours.

Honnold is a young guy. There aren’t many free solo rock climbers who live to be old. If they fall, they almost always die. And who does a sport like that for any length of time without ever falling? Two experienced climbers who were using ropes died on El Capitan as recently as June 2018.  The list of climbers who have fallen to their deaths on climbs all around the world, with or without ropes, is long.

Free soloing reminds me of another high risk sport, BASE jumping. BASE jumpers fling themselves off fixed structures like mountains or high buildings or antennae or bridge spans wearing a winged suit, which they maneuver to glide to the ground. An errant wind current, or failure to jump far enough away from the structure, or any error maneuvering in flight can result in the jumper crashing into the side of the structure or hard into the earth below. BASE jumpers don’t live long either.

Apparently the brains of people drawn to these sports don’t register fear in the same way the rest of us do.

The part of Free Solo that I saw, the final leg of the ascent, was thrilling enough to make me want to go back and see the entire film.  I’m not drawn to sports like this. I did some indoor rock climbing in Rochester, with ropes, and know how hard it is. I have no desire to do it outside, much less without protection for my nearly inevitable fall.

That’s just the point, though. Guys like Honnold don’t think about falling, much less the statistical inevitability of it. They think only about the exhilaration of rising, and standing triumphant on top.

Getting to Know Seattle: Dahlia

Louse and I had theater tickets downtown for the new musical Come from Away, and I wanted very much to try the trendy new bar beneath the Amazon Spheres. We figured that getting there just before 5pm would beat the Amazon crowd. Alas, no luck. “Trendy” in Seattle means “crowded”.  The bar opens at 4pm, and the hostess told us there is a line at that hour, and the place immediately fills up. There are no reservations and they don’t even take names of people who are waiting, so the next tables wouldn’t open up, she estimated, until 6pm or 6:15pm and we’d have to be there, standing in the next line to form. That didn’t work with our 7:30pm theater tickets, and anyway I’m not a fan of waiting in big lines for any establishment, no matter how cool it might look.

Fortunately downtown Seattle has no shortage of great happy hour options, so we walked to a Tom Douglas restaurant, Dahlia, on our way to the theater. Happy hour means half price glasses of wine — in Seattle half price is $7 — and a variety of small plates. This is Seattle restaurant week, so we also had the option of three courses for $33, but neither of us felt like that much food. We got a number of things, and shared. Louise felt like apple salad and french fries. I ordered squash soup — a real winner — and house bread with three seasonal toppings: tapenade, a great fresh tomato relish, and squash butter.

Next to the french fries what you see is aioli, which is how Seattle-ites eat their fries. Tastes like mayo to me, the ketchup queen.

I missed being able to get into Deep Dive, but how could anyone be disappointed with this? 🙂

Getting to Know Seattle: Landmark Theater

Come from Away, an entertaining and energetic musical if not a great one, is playing at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theater, a landmark building downtown that was opened in 1926. The place has been upgraded from time to time, but retains that classic look of so many venues that have been torn down — thinking of the St. James and Mayfair theaters in Asbury Park, NJ, which were roughly the same vintage.

The mechanicals and technology in 5th Avenue Theater are clearly new, so the acoustics are great throughout. The seats aren’t too bad. The floor tilts. But the visual of the stage from where we were sitting, and the ornate ceiling, are gems.

Classic, no?

Come from Away is the story of the people of Gander, Newfoundland, who welcomed thousands of stranded airline passengers from planes that were grounded there in the emergency of 9/11. The story is told from the perspective of those passengers, who were there for days, and their welcoming if overwhelmed hosts. This is an upbeat human story, musical soundtrack OK but nothing destined to be memorable, lots conveyed with simple changes of set done before the audience eyes. The show is now on Broadway. Probably worth seeing for an entertaining hour and 40 minutes, as long as you don’t expect to be dazzled by the show or moved beyond measure by deep emotion.