“point, and shoot!”

Had a great “date day” with my hubby. After a 20-25 minute drive to a massage appointment that turned out not to be until next weekend, we headed into Seattle.

Recent events of the last several weeks had me rescheduling appointments. Unfortunately I didn’t make the changes where they counted, on my calendar. Seniors know we have to write everything down. I forgot to do that, so we were surprised when a note on my massage therapist’s door said “Closed. Returning at 1 p.m.” Like a scrabble game, my brain started rearranging my thoughts and came up with “OMG! What date is this?” After being told, by my husband, that it was March 5th, we burst into laughter at my senior moment. “Oh well,” I said, “the ride through the countryside was beautiful. Now we’ll be able to enjoy the urban jungle of the city.” And off we went.

The primary purpose of our trip was to see about getting tickets for the musical, “Billy Elliott.” Online tickets were pricey, and the available seats didn’t look good. As always the “doubting Thomas,” I wanted to stand at the box-office window, ask the person sitting there for the prices, and look at the seating chart. I also wanted to query her as to her thoughts about the location of the seats. Which seats are better, these or those? I prefer the human touch, over the computer “clicks.” Call me old-fashioned, or old-school, or just old. It’s a generational thing, whatever you call it.

Pike Place Market in Seattle

Image via Wikipedia

After finding out that the box-office was only open Mondays through Fridays, we cheerily wandered down the street toward Pike Place Market. My hubby will return and check out the ticket situation. If we see “Billy Elliott,” fine. If not, the movie version of several years ago suffices.

As we wandered down sidewalks overflowing with Saturday shoppers, I decided to capture images with my camera. I was fascinated with shops along the way. At Barney’s New York, I stopped to take photos of words boldly written across their over-sized windows. They spoke of backstage happenings. Of course I was captivated.

My daughter’s often spoken of things that occur behind the scenes at ballet performances. One particular incident involved a fellow, male dancer carrying her from the stage “wings” where she was crouching in pain, backstage to the physical therapist’s station, where the “charley-horse” in her calve muscle could be checked out. This prevented my daughter from dancing in the finale. With the help of female dancers gathered around, her costume was quickly removed, and her understudy was just as quickly shoved into it. And as the saying goes, it was “on with the show.”

The sun’s warmth felt glorious! My husband kept up with me as I wend my way in and out of the crowd, stopping to snap pictures of Macy’s windows with mannequins in funky

outfits, a boutique window with artsy graphics, a “Chocolate” shop I’d never noticed on previous visits.

Everything looks delicious when I don’t have to dodge raindrops. I lingered everywhere, on curbsides, in the cozy courtyard of a small hotel near Pike Place Market, and then, of course, the market itself.

People were everywhere, soaking up the unique sights, smells and sounds of food booths, craft booths, flower booths, produce stalls, fish stalls. My absolute favorite is the vendor who sells fresh-roasted nuts. I never leave without a pound of her cashew nuts. Today, I also purchased a pound of toffee-covered nuts for my husband’s “sweet-sour tooth,” a mixture of peanuts and hazelnuts. These nuts are never a disappointment! And I’m a nut aficionado. I love cashew chicken, goobers, “turtles,” chocolate-covered macadamia nuts, almond rocha, almond joy, and on and on.

Making our way back from where we came, the downtown area, I turned my camera on passersby. People fascinate me, all kinds. I wanted to capture Seattlites, although I’m sure they weren’t all city-dwellers. Nonetheless, when I asked if I could photograph them, I said it was to let readers of my blog see the people of Seattle. All but one responded with smiles and nods of agreement.

I’m sure I startled those on the other side of window fronts, a chef preparing ingredients, a couple of guys eating lunch,  and a Sephora makeup artist doing her thing. Caught up in playing amateur photographer, I approached a mother and daughter, a woman waiting outside a shop with her luggage, sales people in the coolest, new clothing store, “All Saints…,” and a street musician.

I was delighted to buy the street newspaper, “Real Change,” from an amiable homeless man. But another homeless person, an elderly woman, stopped me dead in my tracks. I’d never seen a woman who looked like a school teacher, or a librarian, or an office worker, leaning up against a lamp-post, plastic bags gathered around, dressed in an oversized, yellow, rubber raincoat with a long, green scarf snuggly wrapped about her head, cup in hand, begging. Wanting to “tell” her story, I asked if I could take a picture of her. Eyeglasses cast a shadow, while a small smile softened the blow of her emphatic “no,” in response. As we stood, a guy who looked to be in his late 20s, early 30s, pressed a plastic bag containing a boxed lunch into the woman’s grateful hands. He was on his way, before she fully mouthed her words of thanks. Oblivious to my presence, she hungrily removed the bag’s contents, murmuring how she really needed the food. As I pressed a $5 bill into her free hand, her eyes widened in disbelief. I can only imagine that she felt today was a good day. But as I walked away, I wondered about her tomorrows.

My husband said it best when he declared of me…”You dance to the beat of a different drummer.”

he’s right…i come up with my own “choreography”…hugmamma.

inspirational thought, from a mom who inspires

Wanted to share the following from my friend, a great mom of whom I’ve spoken in an earlier post. Katy is the CEO in her family, having weathered a divorce several years ago. Her 2 children have benefitted from her management style, one of unconditional love that, like many moms, attempts to fix everything. But God bless Katy, she does manage to “build castles out of sand.” Her daughter is a successful events planner for a retirement community, even as she faces ongoing health issues that would suck the life from most of us. Her brother, Katy’s son is continuing to resolve his health issues as well. Both siblings had set their sights on stage careers, the daughter as a ballerina, the son as an actor in musicals, and perhaps a director.

When her children lacked the energy, Katy sustained them until they regained their determination to look ahead towards another day, another sunrise. They are as remarkable as their mom. Despite her share of setbacks, my friend has discovered new horizons for herself. Katy’s on the verge of becoming a movie actress!!! Now living in California, she’s dabbled in theatre. It seems the play in which she’s acted, “Pink Squirrels,” is being made into a movie. Her part has even expanded, from a smaller role, to one vacated by another actress. So if you find yourself in a viewing of the film, watch the actress playing a Lesbian lawyer. She’ll be my amazing friend, Katy! 

So it’s with joy that I pass along another of my friend’s gems, the other being the youtube video of dance clips to the music of “Footloose.” Not one to advise others on how best to live their lives, Katy just does it by example. It’s my guess, she finds daily inspiration from the following. I hope you do as well.

We face magnificent opportunities throughout our lives, each of which is brilliantly disguised as an impossible situation.

 for a mom who inspires, a holiday toast!…and huge hugs…hugmamma.

a very special mom

Rather than wait for Mother’s Day a year from now, I wanted to acknowledge the extraordinary love of a mom for her children. She no longer lives nearby, instead moving to be with her daughter in another state after the dissolution of a 26 year marriage.

Our daughters were both aspiring to be ballerinas, hers a few years older than mine. For a brief period, I worked with my friend at the dance school where our children studied. She’d been there longer, having been a fixture shortly after its inception and continuing well after my daughter left to train elsewhere. 

Friends because of our daughters’ shared passion for dance, we knew of each other’s tribulations. Through the years, hers became more and more challenging. Both her daughter and a slightly younger son seemed on the verge of promising stage careers. Unfortunately they were sidelined by life changing illnesses.

The daughter pursued ballet with a passion that was singular. The son was touted as an up and coming actor in musical theatre. They were strikingly handsome, pale complexions framed by hair the color of espresso. The daughter was tall and elegant, the son equally tall yet casual. Their mom was understandably proud of both.

Without warning both children suffered illnesses that were difficult to diagnose. First, the daughter experienced digestive issues which have until this day gone unresolved. But through it all she, and her mom, have weathered the ups and downs with as much vigor as they could muster. 

Some years later the son developed serious sleep deprivation which affected life as he knew it. His situation also remains unresolved. But as with his sister, his mom has helped him press forward to live his best life.

In the midst of my friend’s ongoing crises, she and her husband went their separate ways. She never faulted him, at least not publicly. She may have vented privately with those who loved and cared about her well-being. She started a new life near her daughter, and is finally reaping personal rewards of which she is so deserving. My blogging has brought us back in touch. I’ve learned that she is once again enjoying her lifelong love for singing, in a church choir. And she is acting in small theatre plays! She has earned the spotlight. She is not just a survivor; she takes life by the “horns” and rushes headlong into each day. She’s never asked “Why me?” She’s always demanded to know “What can I do?” And she’s always answered her own question.

she has taught me to live life, as it is…hugmamma