Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Vacation was great.

     We were in Vancouver and then Seattle.  I don't take a lot of photos on vacation so you can't see us in Whistler, a ski resort 2 hours north of Vancouver, ziplining between two mountains.  Yeah we did!!  Nor can you see us attending a Saturday night Bard on the Beach production of Shakespeare's Love's Labor Lost, set in the 1920's with all kinds of Jazz Age choreographed musical numbers thrown in.  It was a hoot!  But here are a few Vancouver shots my husband took:

                            (outside our hotel with some serious eye-rolling by my daughter)

                                         (Shannon Waterfall, just off the road to Whistler)

                                                       (some new friends)


                                                           (double ditto)

     Nor do I have photos to display of our Underground Seattle Tour (which seemed to focus heavily on the city's history of sewage disposal) or of our Locked Room Challenge (which was cool, except that I discovered to my deep shame that I'm useless at locked room challenges.  Everyone else in my family did really well though).  I did force my daughter to pose for me at the wonderful Elliot Bay Bookstore

and my husband caught this lovely shot of me and my son at the aquarium gift shop:

But the only time I really pulled my phone out and started snapping pics is when we got to the Chihuly Garden and Museum, because it was absolutely incredible.  First off, I should note that Dale Chihuly, one of the world's foremost glassmakers and a native of Tacoma, is a genius (I think that's beyond question) but is also completely whacked.  This museum/exhibit space of his in Seattle has a café, where we ate lunch, but before you enter the café you walk past two enormous wall-hung exhibit cases displaying a tiny fraction of his collection of bottle openers.  Two cases of bottle openers also hang in each of the nearby bathrooms.  So you start to get a sense of why it might be called the Collections Café, but you don't really get it until you're seated in the restaurant and you look up to the ceiling and see this:

Those are accordions.   Eighty-two of them on the ceiling, our helpful waiter told us.  Less than a fifth of Chihuly's full accordion collection, which he stores at various warehouses.  But if you thought that Chihuly only collects accordions and bottle openers, you were gravely mistaken.  He has MANY other collections, including but not limited to: shaving brushes; pre-WWII string dispensers; mid-20th-century wooden dollhouse furniture; vintage radios; and a category called chalkware, which is so supremely creepy that I had to take two pictures of the huge display cases:

     Okay, so there you have Dale Chihuly the Lunatic Collector.  But there is also Dale Chihuly, the man who single-handedly revolutionized the art of glassmaking, and on this subject, I will just let the photos speak for themselves.

     If you ask me, we could have done nothing else on vacation but seen the Chihuly exhibits, and it would still have been worth the trip.

Monday, August 17, 2015


Best Things About Returning From a Family Vacation

1. My own home; bed; pillow.
2. Reuniting with the dogs.

Worst Things About Returning From a Family Vacation

1. Cooking!  Washing dishes!
2. Having a zillion tasks that were shelved until after vacation.
3. Thinking I see my son everywhere I go and then remembering it can't be him.

Absolute Worst Thing  About Returning From a Family Vacation

     The very worst thing, bar none, is having to confront the reality that none of us can stop time.  For a week or so, I can live inside the illusion that my husband and kids and I are still a four-person unit, and that status will never change.  Of course, it's already changed.  My son is a grown man with a job waiting for him to start in September and a new apartment he shares with his girlfriend.  My daughter is in college and even though she's still a work in progress, more and more often I see glimmers of the woman she's becoming.  But when the four of us go on vacations together, it's like we enter an unspoken pact to pretend that they're still The Kids and my husband and I are still The Parents.  No one tells The Kids they have to act that way, so I have to think that they derive some measure of comfort from this arrangement too.  Because of course all of us know that time has changed us and will keep changing us even more.  The four of us will drift apart and then, if we're fortunate, back together, but in new configurations.  They'll both start their own families, and those will become primary to them.  My husband and I will retire from our jobs at some point, and we'll have to figure out where our next steps will lead us.  The future is exciting, scary, inevitable.  So once in a while, for a short and finite time, it's restful to stop moving forward into whatever comes next.  It feels good for all of us to climb back into the nest together, and just be the way we used to be, even though we all know it's artificial.  And then our little idyll ends.

     Vacation photos to follow soon.

p.s.  This afternoon I came across a poem by Nilanjana Bose, a gifted poet whom I e-met during the A to Z Challenge, that perfectly fit my elegiac mood, so I thought I'd share it here.

The laughter’s gone from this heart.
the lamplight’s gone from this home;
the threshold, the corners are dark,
the ones who’d lit it up depart
for cities from where no letters come;
for cities that no one returns from.
The water’s as tall as the crops -
the river’s too full of herself,
ear by ear the grain starts to rot,
the young scatter in search of jobs,
the old watch unable to help;
the lamp stands unlit on its shelf.

The fathers can keep their eyes dry
and keep their words clipped and brief;
but they pause far too much, they sigh,
and their lips suddenly pull awry;
the mothers are too bowed to weep
gone to places even beyond grief.

The water stands as high as the rice
the harvest has stopped in its tracks;
the lamp flickers once before it dies -
the light lays its head on the thighs
of the dark and the young men pack
for cities, and they don’t come back.

We’re become the shell of a house.
We’re become the shell of a loving.
See how our garments fall loose.
See how our proud heads are bowed.
Once here the bulbul used to sing,
she’s now fallen quiet, there’s nothing.
        *        *        *         *
     My feelings at the moment aren't quite as extreme as those Nila is expressing here - and I'd like to think I'm more than just an empty shell - but her poetry is always lovely, and always worth the read.  You can find more of it on her blog, http://nilabose.blogspot.com