Washington

There’s Not Much Hope in Hope

I have immersed myself in my friends’ lives (both past and present) for the span of a week. I am so very honored that they have entrusted me to help edit a book retelling their lives. Lives that have not only survived unimaginable events that could have destroyed (both literally and figuratively) most of us, but lives that have thrived in so many ways and went on to benefit others. I get teary-eyed when I think about it. One is a lawyer, the other is a doctor, both are activists. I am in awe of and love these two very much. Soon you will be able to read about it. “Beauty and Beyond” will be coming online and to a bookstore near you.

It’s Carlsbad where I have arrived after my 27 hours of car, train, and waiting time in between. Since I have a limited time here, I want to take advantage of the time with them as much as I can, so we have been immersed in the writing. It’s also been so very hot outside that it is not the place to be. Carlsbad is home to the Carlsbad Caverns which are beautiful and certainly worth a visit but I’ve been there before so not a good enough excuse to play hooky. But since even God rested on the 7th day, on the 8th day they take me to the mountains where they have a few acres. I am going to be a tourist with local guides!

Frank has left the night before and will be meeting us in Mayhill. So it’s a girl’s road trip for Marta and me. We don’t pack because this is going to be a day trip. From Carlsbad, NM to Mayhill, NM is about two hours. But first how can we not stop in a town named Hope? When Marta mentions it she has a twinkle in her eye. I need not wonder why for we arrive in Hope soon enough. It t is soon apparent that this town should change its name. An old building which housed Alice’s Treasure at some point is the first to great us. undefined It initially makes me yearn for my little antique/collectible stall I had in a mall in Orange, CA but this store ended up like mine, shut down and lonely. The Hope Store also is closed. undefined All that is left are the signs. In the “garden” a tractor that is very much like the ones I saw in my birth country of Paraguay. undefined This one has no more life in it.

And then there’s the washing machine which brings me memories of my grandma. I can almost see her squeezing the clothes through the rollers to then hang them in the sun on the clothesline to dry. She was a strong woman. One that took control of the household and smoked cigars she rolled herself.

Surprisingly, this town has a USPS a post office that is large and new-looking. Even though, across the street is the only Fire Department that itself has burned down. I can’t think of no other with that fate. (I would later find out that the Fire Department in Carlsbad had a hotel construction next to it which burned down even with its firehouse next door.) It may be a New Mexico thing. Before we reach Mayhill, Marta wants us to stop at Tom and Pam Runyan Ranches. undefined She wants the owner to meet me. Unfortunately he was undergoing some medical procedure and I didn’t get to chat with him. There’s a petting zoo here. undefined One where a camel and an Asian water buffalo co-exist and, dare I say, have formed a friendship.

In the pen you will also find pigs and goats and a few other species.

It’s a rescue farm and they re-home as many animals as they can. I have a little kitten who hitched a ride in the engine of the car (TWO rides of 20 minutes each!) that I would love to find a home for. But they don’t take domestic pets. Anyone? I will deliver! Here is a picture taken by master Pet with Human photographer Johanna Siegmann.

Bootsie has the “Stop maaa, it’s my spotlight.” look.

This metal overgrown rooster has yet to find a home as well. A few signs catch my attention.

And we arrive at their town. It’s only a few blocks long.

Then off to their property undefined to drop off a few things.

We arrive only a few minutes later and pick Frank up to go to Cloudcroft which is 9,000 feet up undefined and a ski haven, therefore a more touristy town.

Our main focus is to buy an incredible piece of pie and a really, really good burrito (not eaten in that order but listed in order of importance).

With our bellies nice and full and our sweet tooth more than satisfied we are ready to move on.

And on we go to Shady Pines. The house of a local woman that holds wonderful classical concerts in the summer.

The place is pretty magical. She is super creative and the garden is chockfull of wonderful plants (she gives me a chocolate mint one, whose aroma later permeates the car and makes me hungry once again), of little quaint areas to rest in, and paths where you can channel your Zen.

Everywhere you look there is something to smile about.

And we head back with a pit stop to take a photo of flowers and bees.

The day after comes my own trip back to Los Angeles.

And I wish not to forget that I would close my blogs with a song. Any song that resonates with me or that catches my attention. So here goes… because this is how I may be feeling.

Categories: New Mexico, Uncategorized, United States, United States | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

And So It Starts…

2013 has started.   It’s around 12:30 am and we find out that there may not be much of a bus service to the Overlake Station where we left the Prius.  After waiting a bit we stick our hand out and a taxi materializes.  The driver is big and bubbly and has a Tom Petty CD blaring on the stereo.  Traffic leaving the city is pretty heavy and he tells us he won’t turn the meter on until we are on the freeway.  I’m liking him already.  Our cab fare will be around $40.  We are not sure of the exit and neither is he so we end up paying around $50 which he almost didn’t want to charge us ’cause he messed up.  An honest cab driver.  Guess the New Year has greeted us in a good way.  Baby Blue is alone except for another car in the parking lot at 2 am and is covered in a not so thin sheet of ice.  Yep, it’s cold.

As expected we rise late on January 1st 2013.  What is left of it will be spent on the computer and lazing around.  We decide to go out walking to dinner where there is a mall and Firenze, an italian restaurant that is open tonight.  Food was really good and service excellent.

The second day of the year was to be spent lunching with a friend Ramon Shiloh frog Ramon Shiloh which I haven’t seen in years since we were mentors for the Young Native American Playwrights Program.  He is a wonderful artist, illustrator, and storyteller.  He has a book published and one out soon: Listener.   Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to happen. We’ve been a bit under the weather and exhausted. Another day of lazing around it is.

The third day of the year finds us in our tourist mode.  It’s the first Thursday of the month and the Seattle Art Museum (among others) has free admission.  It’s close to where the Underground Tours are so as they say in my neck of the woods we are going to “matar dos pájaros de un tiro” (to kill two birds with one stone) Disclaimer: I am not advocating any violence against animals or anything of the like… it’s a saying that has existed for eons.

We drive to the Overlake Station Overlake Station   and go on the bus to downtown.

I like how the buses are accordion-like and bend in the middle.  Accordion Bus

As we cross the bridge it looks like we are inches from the water.Seattle Bus

Steep Seattle streets   Wait a second, are we in San Francisco?  Some roads are steep!

I’m liking the architecture of this city.  Seattle City Hall

Seattle Smith Center  The Smith Center, built in 1916, is a beauty.  It has an outdoor observation deck which we did not go up to.

It’s cold.  Somehow that fact is really diminishing my enjoyment of this city.  This city is grey even on sunny days!  It has earned its reputation as the Suicide Capital of the world. The cold and the rain and the lack of sunshine is conducive to depression but as this link  states it isn’t even on the top 10. It also debunks other myths about states and cities. Fun read.

The Underground Tour is about to start.  They have us congregated in this really old bar.  Solid wood, defying time to lessen its stance.  The guide, Gail, is funny but I concentrate on the floor.  Old tile floorLove the tiles.

We go outside and I look up. P1140484  We are going into the bowels of the city and I concentrate on what’s on top.  Just being a bit contrarian here. But I love old buildings.

I adjust my directional rebellion by looking across the street and liking the iron bus stop pavilion.  Station in Seattle

And down we go. Underground Tour

And my attention is grabbed by this sad seat, tattered and faded holding no vibrancy in its color or plushness in its seat.  Underground Tour  I imagine it in the lobby of a theater surrounded  by rustling skirts, colors and overall excitement.

The floors are unleveled and sinking in parts.  Seattle below  We are given a lot of info on the building and rebuilding of the city and on its history, all in the context of a comedy routine that is a bit too much, but she is funny and makes it entertaining. We go back up before going back down but I’m so used to looking down that I spot another set of tiles Merchant's Cafe  that I like in front of what professes to be the oldest restaurant in Seattle.

Steam Baths lower level… Steambaths lower level

We are now under a skylight.  Purple Skylight Glass made circa 1800’s – it turned purple with age. sk

We head back up.  Underground Tour

And here is a skylight from above.  Seattle Skylight

My stomach is grumbling as usual and we go to a Cajun restaurant close by.  A nice hot gumbo sounds just like the best antidote to the cold.  The place, Marcela’s Creole Cookery, is a hodgepodge of decorating.  Marcela's Creole Cookery But the gumbo does warm me up and I got some colorful beads as a send-off.

Before we go to the Art Museum we decide to stop at Seattle’s Central Library.  I’m glad we did.  The building is structurally stunning and massive.  Seattle Central Library     Seattle Central Library

Today, surprise of surprises, it’s a grey day but on a sunny day it must be so stunning to see it from within with all the angles this place has.  And a really stormy rainy day probably creates quite a symphony in here.

The colors inside are pretty cool. Stairs in Seattle Central Library  Seattle Central Library  Stairs Seattle Central Library    P1140539    Seattle Central Library

Just in case you are wondering (as I did for a minute) if this really is a library, here is a librarian to go with it.Seattle Central Library

The world in books at your fingertips.  Seattle Central Library

Futuristic, eh?

Seattle Central Library  Seattle Central Library  Seattle Central Library

I almost want to stay.  Cocoon myself with a book and let the hours pass without notice.  But I bid my farewell by taking a few more shots of its facade.  Seattle Central Library   Seattle Central Library   Seattle Central Library   Seattle

Seattle Art Museum  is now at our feet. And above us, some flying Fords with lights coming out of every opening in an explosion exposure.  Seattle Art Museum

I like that the museum has a large quantity of Native American and Aboriginal art, something my Australian was quite happy to see.  Native Art   Native Art  This is not one of it, by the way.

However, in some floors, periods and mediums are mixed in and somehow I am not drawn in.   What does, is this painting of a mother and child (his wife and daughter) by William Sergeant Kendall which brings my mom to mind.  In two days it will be three years since her passing.  Mother and Child

A lot of modern art.  Modern Art   Seattle Art MuseumMedia Installation

 

 

 

 

 

Then a statue of cupid.  I photograph its bum for I have the full intention of decorating my bathroom with photos of behinds taken all over the world.

Cupid

We are not far from Pike’s Market so we decide to have dinner there.  End up at Etta’s.  Food was really good though I found it expensive for what it was. But it won me over (I had serious hesitation looking at the menu).  It starts pouring which gives me an excellent excuse to order a decadent dessert while we wait for the rain to turn into a drizzle.  I am just going to become a roly poly if I keep on eating like this so Seattle has to promise not to give me any more excuses for me to keep on eating!

Categories: Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Central Library, Underground Tours | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

The End… and Hopefully, a Lucky 13!

I wake up to two lovely little kitties.  A cup of tea. Relaxing morning.  A day of no hurries and hopefully no worries.

KittyMy co-guide is hard at work at surveying the possible places to go in the vicinity.  He finds Multnomah Falls in the Colville Indian Reservation.   It is a 30-40 each way side trip but I think it is going to be worth it.  Piper surveys our bags, we give her a last hug, pet Phineas as well and off we go.

Baby Blue is hesitant.  No more snow or ice, right? I hope not. And so we go. It is cold but not brutally so. The mountains and the falls are waiting.  I think I would have liked to have explored more of Portland but am looking forward to being in one place for a while.  As we get close to Multnomah there is a spot that many are parking.  Wakheena Falls InfoIt’s Wahkeena Falls Wakheena Falls  and if they are smaller than Multnomah Falls I really am looking forward to those!  The Falls We decide to hike up to see them close up.  Path up  Nature provides us with such beautiful intricate forms. Tree Swirl The sound from the falls is thunderous. Thunder Noise  Water Thunder

Though it doesn’t need to scream for its power to be understood, it does so anyway.  We have zigzagged up quite high. Dean Photographer Dean stops for a photo, I continue on to a little side road that leads to nowhere but provides me with a sense of quietude which almost overpowers the coldness that has creeped inside my bones.

Quietude  Nature provides us with ice sculptures.

Ice Sculpture  Ice Cascade  Fern covered in Ice

Moss WallWe could continue around but another 3 miles in unisom with the cold is a symphony I do not wish to play so back from where we came from it is.  Return Path  There is a bench up ahead where I sit and think of sliding back down…  Falls Up Ahead briefly… until I think of what a block of ice I would become.  I am most thankful that my heavy breathing (panting, really) is muffled by the sounds of gallons of water streaming down.  Wakheena Falls  Streaming Down  Wakheena Falls

We get to the car, put the heat on full blast and go the few minutes to Multnomah Falls.  Multnomah Falls  The visitor center is really quite quaint and the falls are impressive indeed. P1140304

Multnomah Falls  P1140311Magnificently upright, 611 feet up. According to Native American lore, Multnomah Falls was created to win the heart of a young princes who wanted a hidden place to bathe.  Loving the bridge in the middle.  We walk up to it, cross it, get a bit wet, and head down once again.  Seattle -5 hours and 40 minutes away- is next.

We arrive in Seattle well into the night, tired but happy to be where we will set camp for 11 days.  We are technically not in Seattle.  We are in Bellevue, WA about 40 min. away by car.  A friend has so graciously and generously lent us her home while they are away.

I awake to Dec. 30 a day away from the end of the year and I can’t believe that a year has passed so fast. It has undoubtedly been one of the best I have had.  An assessment will follow.  Too much to ponder and be thankful for.  Enough for another blog in itself.   Today we go to an outlet mall.  We do some shopping but most stores are closed.  It’s Sunday and they have closed early.  I manage to be more flustered at the wheel than ever and miss more exits than I thought humanly possible.  We have dinner at Outback Steakhouse (definitely an Aussie theme these days) and go home and chill (though the chill is outside).

On the 31st there is no doubt that we are going to spend it around the Space Needle observing the fireworks.  We dress in layers.  Thermals, long sleeves, sweater and coats.  Oh, and gloves, scarves, beanies, and a small backpack to store layers that we put on and off. I know that I don’t want to drive so we go to Redmond -where the bus stop is and only 3 minutes away from us- smack in the middle of Microsoft “campus” as someone said. The 454 takes us to Pike and 5th St. and where it drops us is exactly where the monorail s that takes us to the Space Needle. We get there and go into the Armory at Seattle Center were I delight in a miniature train village set up in the middle of it all. Don’t think that there is a kid in us that is not fascinated by trains.  Train Village

Horses and Trains

Horses and Trains

Train Village

Always Wanted a Tree House!

Always Wanted a Tree House!

We then go into the lobby of the EMP Museum (Experience Music Project).   What caught my attention was the Frank Gehry building it is housed in.  Just incredibly unique and beautiful.   EMP Museum   EMP Museum  EMP MuseumToday is a bit grey but in the sunshine this building must glisten.  The photos don’t really do it justice. It reflect the Space Needle, competes with it and distorts it.  EMP vs. Space Needle  EMP vs. Space Needle

Time and Temperature  It’s still relatively early and there are no crowds and since we are hungry we walk to Pikes Market.  On our way we pass Top Pot Doughnuts, an institution in Seattle.  Top Pot Doughnuts  We make a beeline towards it only to find that they have sold out on the doughnuts.

Pikes Market  We arrive at Pikes Market.  I love markets anywhere in the world.  This one is not so huge but bustling.  It’s a mix of arts/craft fair, fish market, vegetable, flower market waterside.   Pikes Market  Pikes Market

There is lots to look at aside from the horizon.

Can you spot the real bird?  Bird, Fence, Sunset

Rings nature creates on wood.P1140391 Carvings that man creates on wood.  Totem Pole

Bird surveying his territory.Bird in Sunset

The sun is setting and it is beautiful.    Pikes Market  Pikes Market  Sunsent on Pikes Market  Pikes Market

We go inside and have our last meal of the year (or what we thought was going to be our last meal) at a cafe at waterside.  A salmon bisque, a clam chowder, crab cakes and a chocolate bundt cake.

P1140410

Clam Chower, Salmon Bisque, Crab Cakes  Chocolate Bundt Cake

Back on the monorail and the Seattle Center.  We first stop at the Skating Rink. Seattle Center Skating Rink  The Armory is filled.  The outside not so much.  It is cold, very cold.  Two Californians sitting next to us are saying how unused to this weather they are.  So am I.  But then the fireworks start and all is forgotten.  Here is a link to the video.  Here’s a link to the second part (with the finale) which is sideways, not because I laid down but because I had the brilliant idea of changing the camera angle thinking that I could fix it later… I couldn’t.

Happy New Year everyone!!!!!  Thank you for being an important part of mine!

May 2013 be the best yet!

Categories: EMP Museum, Multnomah Falls, Oregon, Pikes Market, Seattle, Seattle Armory, Seattle Center, Seattle Space Needle, Uncategorized, Wahkeena Falls, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

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