…the beautiful…

…America.

Image result for cascades mt range images

Wanting to share the best of the Pacific Northwest with a dear friend, I decided we’d tour Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helen’s. This was Laurie’s first visit, and airfares from the east coast being what they are, I was pretty sure she’d not be returning anytime soon.

I’ve no idea why I’d never thought to travel out that way before, except to say that neither my husband nor I are overly keen about venturing forth into the great outdoors. Simply put, we like to leave it to the critters that call it home.

One day, while out walking in Banff, Canada, I almost came face to face with a giant black bear. From then on, I decided to enjoy the outdoors…from the safety of the indoors.

Since I was born in Hawaii where volcanoes loom large around every bend in the road, it could also be that I had no inclination to see two more.

Was I ever wrong.

The drive towards Mount Rainier felt desolate. The two-way road was pretty isolated, except for the occasional car driving in the opposite direction. Acres and acres of evergreens lent an eeriness to the quiet hanging heavy all around us. If it weren’t for the intermittent chatter between Laurie and me, we might have been three souls traveling alone toward a destination as yet unrevealed to us.

A little spooky, I thought.

Thankfully the sun shone bright as we made our way along, what was for us, uncharted territory. More than once I proclaimed “How majestic!” as the Cascades Mountain Range unfolded before our eyes. If there ever was a place God designated as his, this was it.

While we didn’t see the summit of Mount Rainier because it was hidden by a heavy blanket of clouds, we hiked a winding trail up a nearby mountain in the hopes we’d catch even a glimpse. Breathing heavily because of the elevation, we climbed uphill gingerly so as not to lose our footing and tumble backwards over bumpy terrain.

Image result for Mount Rainier

Stretching out all around us were fields and fields of wildflowers. Seeing them made our questionable decision to continue the ascent worthwhile.

The following day we drove in the direction of Mount St. Helen’s.

In May 1980, it famously exploded in an eruption that sent a landslide of uprooted trees, bridges, houses and other debris 50 miles downstream. Sadly, lives were also lost. According to Wikipedia…

Fifty-seven people were killed during the eruption.[52] Had the eruption occurred one day later, when loggers would have been at work, rather than on a Sunday, the death toll would almost certainly have been much higher.[8]

83-year-old Harry R. Truman, who had lived near the mountain for 54 years, became famous when he decided not to evacuate before the impending eruption, despite repeated pleas by local authorities. His body was never found after the eruption.

Another victim of the eruption was 30-year-old volcanologist David A. Johnston, who was stationed on the nearby Coldwater Ridge. Moments before his position was hit by the pyroclastic flow, Johnston radioed his famous last words: “Vancouver! Vancouver! This is it!”[53] Johnston’s body was never found.

A young geologist lectured small groups of visitors on the science behind volcanic eruptions, and more specifically the one that occurred at that site. Of particular interest to me was her explanation that Hawaiian volcanoes aren’t destructive to human life unless, of course, a person is in the path of its lava flow. The difference, she said, was that the nearby ocean salt causes Hawaiian volcanoes to be fluid, not explosive.

My relatives living on the islands should be able to rest easy. You think?

Another volcanic dome is growing within the crater of Mount St. Helen’s. Earthquakes continue to occur regularly. When I asked the geologist about the next eruption occurring while folks were in the area, she seemed to take the question in stride. She said the experts would call in time to alert everyone to leave.

Hmmm…

I think I’ll start reading the earthquake reports myself. I’m no Olympic runner.

…not by a long shot.

………hugmamma.

 

 

 

Advertisements

living her best life #47: counting down…

…until I’m home again. That’s what’s foremost in Pat’s mind, having touched down in Rochester, Minnesota only 48 hours or so ago.

After spending a couple of days with my husband and me sightseeing in and around Seattle and its environs, Pat and Brad headed to The Mayo Clinic where they will now spend the next month-and-a-half. To get them off on the right foot, so to speak, we were intent upon wining and dining them and making them smile and laugh until they were exhausted, falling into bed…happy as clams tucked snugly into their shells for the night. And I mean snugly since they insisted on sharing the vintage double bed in our former master bedroom suite-turned- guest suite. They opted not to share our daughter’s queen-size bed, probably because they knew she’d be enroute home the day they left.

Arriving from Honolulu where they reside Sunday evening, we drove to a casual waterfront restaurant where I’d made reservations for us to celebrate Father’s Day. Dining outdoors on the deck was like being in Hawaii, the sun beating down without letup. While the others weren’t bothered by the heat, I almost followed through on the server’s suggestion to check out their souvenir shop for visors. Instead I decided that if Pat could withstand the sun’s rays, so could I. If there’s one thing I’ve since learned from her it’s not to be a wuss.

On Monday we traveled into Seattle from where we live in the suburbs to visit the Chihuly Museum. Pat had asked to see it, and like her fairy godparents, my husband and I wanted to grant her wish. Even though we’d been there before, we did not need to be asked twice to return to the museum again. For those unfamiliar with master glass blower Chihuly, he has become a global phenomenon because of the glass structures he has created to mimic the beauty found in nature. His museum is not to be missed. In fact, seeing it again my husband and I were once more awed by how the outdoor gardens had matured around Chihuly’s glass creations.

Following our tour of the glass museum, we lunched in the Sky Cafe high atop Seattle’s  landmark Space Needle. When asked if she’d prefer…a great view and good food…or great food and a good view…Pat said she wasn’t aware there was a restaurant at the top of the Space Needle. I’m sure she’d agree, the view AND the food were awesome. While dining, the restaurant did 2-3 revolutions showing us all of Seattle a couple of times over as we sat enjoying our meal. Afterwards, we stepped out onto the Observation Deck one level above to enjoy the gentle breezes of the outdoors while gazing down at the rooftops of the myriad buildings below.

Before leaving the city, we headed to Seattle Center’s huge fountain, an attraction for old and young alike…adults chilling while children frolic in the water cascading down from on high after being shot into the air as though from a cannon. Again, Pat remained in the scorching heat with the men as wimpy me sought comfort under the canopy of trees offering shelter from the afternoon sun. Oh well. I am a decade older than my sister-in-law so maybe I can claim old age as an excuse.

To round out a wonderful day, we enjoyed a casual meal at a Japanese restaurant closer to home. It’s always nice to visit with our nephew Kanoa and his wife Erica. The evening was made even more special by their beguiling 6-month-old, Luca. He literally charmed the pants off of all of us…well, at least mine.

When we sent Pat and Brad on their way the next day, it was with armfuls of love and prayers. And I know they’ll continue to need as much from all of us as they prepare for what lies ahead.

…love and prayers, pat and brad.

………hugmamma

weekly photo challenge: close

This poor soul got up close and personal………….with Pompeii.                                                                                             

…guess there was no time to hop the first boat out…

………hugmamma.

bayeux…as i imagined

Map of Normandy

Image via Wikipedia

The town of Bayeux in Normandy‘s countryside was exactly as I pictured…narrow, cobblestone roads…gothic cathedrals…whimsical store fronts…Hansel and Gretel houses…folks dining outdoors…precious children darting ahead of parents…and flowers…flowers everywhere. “I could return here,” I thought to myself. I’m sure I even suggested to my husband that we retire to Bayeux. And I’m just as certain that he most emphatically said “No.” So I’ll have to content myself with owning a chair there.

My daughter and I decided that since I couldn’t own a home everywhere I desired, that I’d settle for owning a chair instead. I’ve lost count of how many chairs I mentally own around the world. Rather innovative, don’t you think? And more befitting our family’s budget and lifestyle. We’re not related to Bill Gates or Oprah Winfrey, and we’re certainly not jet-setters. Chairs are definitely more our style. One per country will suit just fine.

A Medieval tapestry dating to 1066, depicting the defeat of King Harold of England by William, the Duke of Normandy, later known as William the Conqueror, is what enticed us to visit Bayeux. We were not disappointed as you can see by viewing this Youtube clip. But beyond this exquisite relic from the past, the surroundings in which it is secreted away, are the stuff of this traveler’s long-held fantasies.

In another life, I would relish being an inhabitant of this idyllic village. But at the very least I’d love to return to Bayeux with my daughter in tow. Her eyes would sparkle as mine did while I wandered the alleyways, and popped in and out of quaint shops here and there. Needless to say my “point and shoot” camera, always within reach, worked overtime.

Come visit Bayeux with me………hugmamma. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

the world…a ship’s eye view

While others may have dreamed of traveling to the Far East, I have always been partial to the UK and Europe. A few years ago my husband, daughter and I were fortunate to sail through the Mediterranean with Holland America Cruises, while just a couple of years back my husband and I visited Venice and Croatia. Seeing the countryside of France and the British Isles was next on my list of must-dos. Sailing there on the Queen Mary did not disappoint.

Unique to cruising is seeing the coastline from the deck of a ship. I was totally enthralled with the breathtaking landscape that unfolded with each nautical mile traveled. The Scottish cliffs…majestic… …rugged…

…serene.

The Irish landscape…picturesque…

…idyllic…

…postcard-perfect.

I was equally captivated by the sunsets…

…and the cloud drifts…

…the man-made elements…

…and the ocean itself.

nothing compares to viewing the world from an ocean-liner…unless of course…one gazes down at earth…from the inside of a spaceship………hugmamma.

365 photo challenge: lark

According to Webster’s Dictionarylark, n. 1. a merry, carefree adventure. –v.i. 2. to have fun; frolic.

…hubby’s idea of going on a lark…

…my idea of going on a lark…

…another one of my hairbrained larks…

 

…our whole family…off on a lark…

…my daughter and her friends…on their own kind of halloween lark…

 

…i think you get the idea?!?……… i’m off on another lark………hugmamma.

365 photo challenge: scale

On a scale from 1 to 10………………………………………………….100!!!

…no doubt about it!!!…………………………………………………………….hugmamma.

365 photo challenge: bias

a real shot in the dark…………………………………………………………………….bias

… an adverb… in a diagonal  manner…webster’s dictionary…….hugmamma.

365 photo challenge: outside

where i’d like to be right now……………………………outside…………………………….

enjoying the peace, quiet and warmth…………of croatia………….hugmamma.

honeymoon alone?…why not?

Absolutely loved this Traveler’s Tale by Jennifer Belle which appeared some time ago in the Wall Street Journal. How many new brides would go for the gusto and forge ahead with her honeymoon plans…alone? I don’t know that I’d have had the courage 40 some odd years ago. But then that was a different time, and I was an island girl. That’s my excuse for everything. Truth be told, I’m just a scaredy cat, always have been, always will be. My daughter’s a little more adventurous, in fact a lot more adventurous. She drives on freeways in any state without white-knuckled fear. Me? I’m still meandering back-roads, even in my hometown of 14 years. Now you know why this young Mrs. had me chuckling…and envious of her unbelievable hutzpah!

My Perfect Honeymoon
(That I Spent Alone)

Children's Valentine in somewhat questionable ...

Image via Wikipedia

My husband and I met at a Valentine’s party, got in an agitating fight the next day and then became inseparable–that is, until our honeymoon.

Walking out the door to go to the airport, my husband went to get his passport from his desk. It was missing. I called our housekeeper but she hadn’t seen it. We searched the apartment. I called the Terrorist Investigation Unit of the FBI to report it stolen by the carpet cleaner. “We can’t go,” my husband said.

But my passport wasn’t missing. I had wedding money and an airplane ticket. So while he stayed home and called his mother to see if she had his birth certificate and made desperate plans to join me as soon as possible, I flew to Venice.

Gondolas in Venice

 

I took a water taxi to my hotel and the driver, a gorgeous man named Davide, insisted I take command of the boat, although I explained that I was from New York and didn’t even know how to drive a car. “I teach you,” he said and sort of slapped my butt and also touched my stomach while shifting gears. He gave me his number on a scrap of paper.

“I’m married,” I said for the first time. “I’m on my honeymoon.” He thought this was very charming and American and pretended to look overboard in the murky brown water for a groom. “Call me,” he said.

Harry's Bar interior. Venice Italy.

Image via Wikipedia

At the Hotel La Fenice et des Artistes, beside the burned-down opera house, I checked into the honeymoon suite. I had cannelloni and bellinis at Harry’s Bar on Calle Vallaresso, and stopped to listen to, of all things, Hava Nagila, played by a band in San Marco. The next day I bought five hand-tooled leather journals from a bookbinder named Ustino and began writing in one of them at Locanda Cipriani, a restaurant in a quince orchard on a tiny island called Torcello. I ordered cannelloni again and wrote, “I’m eating cannelloni all aloni.” I wandered that night over bridges and bought a silk jacket with rats painted on it for $500.

Channel in Burano, Venice, Italy

Image via Wikipedia

The next day I got my period on the island of Burano and found one drugstore among all the lace shops. There was so much lace everywhere, when I opened the new box of Tampax, I was surprised they weren’t lace too. I had dinner that night at Vino Vino on Calle de la Rotonda where you order from three dishes at the counter. It would have been perfect except for the waitress ignoring me during my lemon cake–and oh yeah, I remembered, my husband not being there.

Gondolas in a canal in Venice, Italy

Image via Wikipedia

Waiting for him, I took gondola rides and drank wine with beautiful men. I soaked my feet in the bidet, listening on the phone to my husband complain about how he’d taken Metro-North to the county clerk’s office in White Plains to get his birth certificate. I went to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and the Accademia, lounged on my king-sized bed, got chocolate on my trousseau. “Your honeymoon, she is ruined!” the hotel clerk fretted. But she was perfect.

Honeymooning alone, I discovered what it was to be married. I experienced it more fully, had a chance to get used to it. Without him there to interfere, I could be my most romantic. We were star-crossed; he was struggling to get to me. Every bride should be alone after the stress of a wedding. I felt sorry for anyone with a groom to deal with. “Husband is my favorite word,” I wrote in my hand-bound diary. Believe me–I have never written anything like that since.

Four days after my arrival at Marco Polo airport I went back to pick up my husband. He turned out to be allergic to Venice and couldn’t stop sneezing, so we went on to Rome and then the Amalfi Coast.

Almalfi Coast (10/10/2007)

Image via Wikipedia

 

When we got home our housekeeper brought me the slim Citibank check box from the desk and opened it proudly to reveal the safe place she’d hidden my husband’s passport. I’d moved that box a hundred times during my search, but hadn’t thought to look inside.

The scrap of paper with Davide’s phone number on it is still on my refrigerator. In case I ever want a second honeymoon.

(Ms. Belle’s novels include “High Maintenance” and “The Seven Year Bitch.” She remains happily married.)

my kind of woman…for sure…hugmamma. 😉

365 photo challenge: faith

 this is the real deal…………………………………………………not an optical illusion

have faith, i tell you…..have faith!………………………………………….hugmamma.

365 photo challenge: fool

This young man is nobody’s fool, that’s for sure. He does love clowning around however.

meanwhile, he’s got the heart… of a prince charming………………hugmamma.

365 photo challenge: supreme

Until 1797 the doge was the chief magistrate in the republic of Venice. As the supreme authority, it seems only fitting that this would have been his humble digs.

several white houses could fit inside the doge’s palace…don’t you think?  …..hugmamma.

365 photo challenge: action

in st. mark’s square…ready…set…………………………………………………..action!!!

actually, i think this was more action than she could handle…..hugmamma.

daily post photo challenge: old

i know no one OLDer…alive…or dead…than this pompeiian…….hugmamma.