A Saturday afternoon. House is clean, fire’s warm, waiting for family to arrive.
These boys think all the fuss is for them.
Well. At least for now, it’s a cat’s life.
Most of us who live in the Pacific Northwest will at some point long to escape the gray and rainy days of winter. The lucky ones are ‘snowbirds’ who migrate south to the blue skies and sunshine of Arizona. Unfortunately I am not one of those. Still, I have managed to visit a few times and thought it was time to recall those sunny days in Arizona.
I’ll start with the red rock country of Sedona, an awesome place with a lovely name that exudes both peace and strength. No words are adequate or even necessary to describe its beauty.
Next up is Boyce Thompson Arboretum an hour east of Phoenix. Founded in 1924, it’s the largest and oldest botanical garden in the state of Arizona. We discovered it by taking the scenic route between Phoenix and Tucson.
Speaking of Tucson, wouldn’t you enjoy hiking at Saguaro National Park? We did.
Of course there’s that other National Park that’s good for hiking too, just ask him.
Grand Canyon, beautiful from every angle any time of day.
Okay that’s enough of Arizona. It will have to tide me over till our next trip to somewhere sunny.
The forecast here in the Northwest calls for cloudy with a chance of rain pretty much everyday until next April. Or something like that.
Earlier this week I found a break in the rain and got my walk in at Coulon Park where the clouds were awesome.
So were the Olympics wearing both snow and clouds so it was hard to tell which was which.
When I returned home it was almost time for sunset and I managed to catch a hint of color through the trees along with gray smudged clouds.
It may be the last sunset I see this week, as heavy rain is forecasted into the weekend.
I have a new chair in my office and it’s really comfy. Every morning after rising I retreat to my office for a quiet time and coffee, though not before I feed the boys. After their breakfast Benji joins me on my lap though there’s barely room for both of us.
When I get up Benji remains for his own quiet time.
Tiger claims the chair later in the day for his own needs. Or should I say kneads?
And that’s all for today.
~ Susanne, Benji and Tiger
I finally made it to the Magic Kingdom in Disney World, Orlando. I was prepared to like the original Disneyland in California better. Maybe I do. But after getting over the shock of the enormous size of the park, it began to grow on me. Not for the rides exactly but for how you get to imagine yourself in another time and place and have more room to do so. And for the Castle. Definitely the Castle.
When you first arrive at the gate to the Magic Kingdom you find out you are only half-way there. You must travel by monorail or boat to get to the entrance and we chose the boat for the shorter line. On your journey you pass by some Disney resort lodging and then see the Castle in the distance.
It greets you at the end of Main Street,
and wherever you go it looms over the park,
beautiful from every angle
and every time of day.
Yes, we had a good time wandering through the ‘lands’ especially Adventureland and Frontierland, my favorites.
We took in the hokey Jungle Cruise where the third grade jokes were as bad as ever (people didn’t even pretend to laugh,)
rode the steam train, climbed the stairs to the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, and went on our favorite ride, Pirates of the Caribbean (it’s better at Disneyland.)
We took in attractions in Tomorrowland – they were dated – and went on a few children’s rides in Fantasyland when the line was short. And we walked and walked and walked.
The weather was unseasonably cold and even though it was a weekday the crowds were daunting and we were constantly dodging strollers.
Still, when darkness descended the Castle was beautiful. And if you closed your eyes, you just might imagine you were seeing the Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, Disney’s inspiration.
I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for Disneyland. But the Castle wins at Disney World.
Temperatures were in the 30’s today but skies were clear and blue so we bundled up and went for a walk at Seward Park. But first we stopped by Columbia City, one of Seattle’s old neighborhoods, full of charm and memories for my husband who grew up there.
We started with breakfast at Geraldine’s Counter
where the walls couldn’t talk so I asked Bob instead.
“This used to be the drugstore,” he told me. “I bought comic books here; actually they were Bantam Books about battles from World War 2.”
I bought comic books from a drugstore too when I was a kid for thirteen cents a piece. Archie comic books – remember Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead? – I wish I still had them.
After breakfast we crossed the street to Halvorson’s Ten Cent store – not anymore of course – where Bob worked as a boy, stocking shelves and doing other odd jobs.
“Did I ever tell you the story about how I broke the corner glass window when I was twelve?” Bob is full of stories – this one not his fault.
The old school, barber shop, bakery and butcher shop were still standing as was the house where he spent most of his childhood.
One block over was steep 42nd street where he rode on the handlebars of the bike being furiously peddled downhill by his neighbor John Malzberger. (No helmets in those days in case you wondered.) And where another time he rode his own bike down the hill but the caliper brakes didn’t work so he stopped the only way he could think of – by putting his foot into the spokes. Oh yes, he stopped. Rather suddenly too and his bike flipped a few times in the air before landing upright. (You gotta wonder how he survived childhood.)
Enough nostalgia – it was time for our walk so we headed to Seward Park where we took the trail along the lake and enjoyed the views under the bluest skies you’ve ever seen – yes, in Seattle.
It was a day well spent.
This morning we woke to clear skies, cold temperatures and heavy frost. I had to go to Bellevue for an appointment and stopped by Bellevue Botanical Garden on the way home to get my steps in for the day (the Fitbit seems to be working.) Even by late morning, frost was still evident on the fallen leaves where the sun was just breaking through.
I enjoyed walking through the crisp fall landscape looking at the world close up for Cees’s Fun Foto Challenge this week, Macro.
“Good morning boys,'” I say. “Winter is on the way. Time to clean up the fall garden.”
“Benji, it looks like we have an intruder. You know what to do.”
And he does.
Then we tackle the garden beds. Tiger leaves the heavy lifting to Benji. It’s an age thing.
When the work is done we rest.
At least for today.
For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week Cold, I was reminded of our cruise last year into Alaska’s Glacier Bay, where we glided silently on turquoise waters under cloudy skies up close to ‘calving’ glaciers and into the secluded nursery of baby seals who didn’t seem to mind the cold at all.
I want to do it again.
It’s good to travel. And it’s just as good – maybe even better – to be back home again. Back home to the familiar and the comfortable and the ordinary. And of course back home to the kitties. For though they are well attended to in our absence I always miss them and wonder how they’re doing. They miss us too and greet us in their own way, in their time, and sometimes warily.
Upon our return from the Southeast, Benji was extra affectionate and all was forgiven.
Poor Tiger was extra worried and needs more time.
I need time too. To settle back into ordinary days. And to go through my (hundreds of) pictures – when will I learn? I’m hoping a post or two will soon emerge from our travels: the trip to Charlotte – postcards already sent – and our trip to Florida, including St. Augustine where we stopped en route to Orlando, for that popular tourist destination, Disney World.
In the meantime I leave you with a picture of the beautiful – though imitation – castle at the Magic Kingdom.
Just a quick hello from a few days spent in Charlotte, North Carolina. I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised by this beautiful city – surprised because I’m from Seattle and never expect other cities to measure up. A bit snobby I know.
It’s true that Charlotte is missing the water and the mountains that Seattle has. But it’s dry and flat and walkable and the people are warm and friendly.
Public art and museums abound where we stayed Uptown and even the skyscrapers are beautiful.
From Charlotte we headed to Florida where the weather should have been better but wasn’t. More on that later.