scarlettina: (Geek Crossing)
Saturday started with breakfast back at Sante--so good we had to do it twice. This time, [livejournal.com profile] davidlevine and I got there earlier and enjoyed our meal with rather better service. The company was different; we met AS (with whom I used to work at Bantam, lo these many years ago) and her husband DKM, their son, and a friend of theirs, and [livejournal.com profile] bjcooper. It's only within the last year or so that I'm back in touch with AS and DKM; they are delightful people who have had a very rough time over the last decade for personal reasons I won't get into here. Suffice it to say that those days are over and I'm so happy that they're returning to conventions and a wider social circle. Our breakfast was scheduled earlier both because there was another beading event I wanted to attempt to attend, and because other folks had programming on which they were scheduled to appear.

I made it back to the convention center with time to spare. I wanted to attend a program called the Beadwork Stitch & Bitch--but if you read the description in the program more closely, it was actually a lesson in Lakota lazy stitch or lane stitch beadwork. I was delighted to find [livejournal.com profile] madrobins in attendance. I'll pass over the challenges of the workshop (particular attendees were not congenial to the environment) and say instead that the instructor, Mir Plemmons, was very good indeed, sharing cultural context for the style of beadwork she was teaching and then teaching it very well. An hour was not nearly long enough; I ended up staying a little longer. I very much want to get back and try this technique again. I've seen its results before and it produces beautiful things that take hours and hours and hours to create.

Lunch was with [livejournal.com profile] davidlevine and [livejournal.com profile] madrobins, all in all a much better opportunity for us to talk a bit. A lot of what we talked about was getting lost in historical research connected to fiction writing. I regret not taking a picture of us all together; ah well, there will be other opportunities!

After lunch, I took my penny-smashing kit and my camera off across the river to Riverside Park. The weather was beautiful in the wake of Friday's terrible air, the sky blue and clear. The contrast was marked. Look at how lovely--and contrast it to my previous WorldCon post picture of the sky!

View from the convention center to Riverside Park | Click to embiggen
View from the convention center to Riverside Park

I got my pennies--eight coins, four each from different machines--and strolled around just enjoying the quiet (the convention center was very noisy) and the relative lack of people (I was kind of peopled out).

When I went back to the convention center, I ran into [livejournal.com profile] oldmangrumpus and some friends in the dealer's room. I learned from them that tickets for assigned seating were going to be required for the Hugo Awards ceremony. This was news to me and, as it turned out, news to a great many folks. Apparently, the previous night, the convention had set up a ticketing system for the masquerade, mainly to keep people from standing out in the terrible air waiting to get into the main auditorium. It worked very well indeed and they decided to institute it for the Hugos as well. I took it upon myself to text almost everyone I knew attending the con who might want to go to let them know about this, and then ran to get changed.

Once I got changed, I got into the rather impressive line. The wait was no more than 20 minutes.

Line for Hugo tickets

Tickets acquired, I met David and Betsy for dinner at Luigi's, the huge Italian restaurant near the convention center. I had the chicken marsala, which was very good indeed. We shared garlic bread and salads, too.

The virtue of the assigned-seating ticketing was that once tickets were in hand, we could get in at any time before the ceremony and be assured of seating. As it turned out, this was a blessing. It allowed us to have a pretty leisurely meal (even though I started out feeling panicked about having enough time to at), and to take our time about getting seated when the time came.

And when the time came, we went to the auditorium lobby, met some friends there, admired everyone's bling, and then went to get seated.

I'm going to talk about the Hugos, the Hugo Loser's Party and my thoughts about this year's whole Puppy debacle in the next post. There's too much to say and I want to address it all discretely. In the meanwhile, here's a pic of me and my seatmates, pre-awards-ceremony, with David and Betsy, and me in the middle.

scarlettina: (Writing)
I spent last Wednesday through Sunday at the Rainforest Writers Village on Lake Quinault on the Olympic Peninsula. It's a beautiful location and never fails to take my breath away when I arrive each year. It was, as it always is, a productive time, a social time, and a time for introspection.

Some folks, while at retreat, produce as much as 20,000 words over the course of 5 days. I am in awe of such productivity. Myself, I produced a little over 5,500. I have learned that on my good writing days, about 1,000 words is what I can expect to produce before my brain is done. That being the case, I did pretty well. It's 5,500 more words I have now than when I left, and the time and the work produced a lot of good thought about the project that I spent most of my time on. During those days, I also provided feedback to someone else on a story, I attended some really good seminar/discussions about craft (if learning is remembering what we already know, then I always learn at these things), and I got to thinking about and revisiting a story of mine that I adore that I've never quite managed to get right. I also, as it happens, took a terrific hike with Janka Hobbs; went on an Elk Quest with [livejournal.com profile] davidlevine, Janka, Susan Matthews, and a number of others (elk sometimes congregate on a nearby golf course in the morning; we missed them); and had, among the many fine meals of the week, dinner at the Rain Forest Lodge with David, Jeremy Bloom, Diana Pharoah Francis, and Amy Thomson.

Dinner among the trees and the writers:
Dinner with a fine group

Last night, I was on the phone with [livejournal.com profile] davidlevine about said short story. This particular piece is bound up in my personal issues in a way very few other stories I've written have been. We hashed out questions that I've never asked before, examined characters who have gotten short shrift in my meditation about it, and I considered starting the story in a different place than where it begins now. This morning, I find myself meditational about it, not quite ready to dive into a redraft, but feeling myself on the way.

I also met some great people and reconnected with a couple of folks whom I haven't seen in a while. I find myself wanting very much to maintain those connections and to nurture them. Time and opportunity will provide, I hope. I'm thinking about advocating for a get-together at Norwescon.

I am also transitioning back into the real world. Yesterday, I worked at home, sorted and posted photos from the retreat, did some smashed penny club administration. Today will be real-life full bore: working at the office and getting back to my freelance project--so much to do. The days aren't long enough to accommodate my to-do list or my aspirations. And as always, coming out of a retreat, I find it hard to make sacred space for my writing. I need to do that, though. One thing at a time.

My Flickr set includes all the pictures I took (not as many as I thought), but said set doesn't include any pictures of me. Here are a few from the party on Saturday night where there was whiskey, margaritas, a ukelele and lots of singing.

Singing along:
Rainforest Sing-along

Our epic rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody looked a little like this:
Bohemian Rhapsody, Rainforest style

I couldn't resist choral directing the last few words of the song, because I'm like that: "Any way the wind bloooows . . .":
Any way the wind blooows...

Photos by Andrew Williams
scarlettina: (Just Keep Swimming!)
I am determined to finish my trip report, even though there's lots to write about, because it was a wonderful trip and there are things I don't want to forget.

Tuesday was our second day at Disney World, and that day we focused on the Magic Kingdom. We started the day doing rides I wouldn't have ordinarily done, except that my traveling companions wanted to do them. Ultimately I'm glad I did, because the novelty of the newness--and the retroness of it--was delightful.

We started the day with Peter Pan's Flight, a journey through the Peter Pan story on suspended carriages. We were the first on the ride for the day. The animatronics of the ride were charmingly retro, and it was a slow, sweet trip swooping through a familiar fairy land.

We rode the teacups, which was an absolute requirement, and if time had allowed, I think we would have done them twice--I'm kind of sorry we didn't. The ride isn't very long, but it's always fun, and we all laughed our fool heads off the whole time.

We'd scheduled the Tomorrowland Speedway next, but skipped it in favor of Space Mountain. I don't know what made me think I'd enjoy it anymore than I have in the past, but we did it--mainly, I think because [livejournal.com profile] davidlevine is a roller coaster junkie on a level I'd never fully understood before. As the week went on, I'd learn exactly how crazy he is, but I get ahead of myself. Anyway, we didn't want him to go on alone, and I know he enjoyed it. Some part of me enjoyed it, but another part of me was uncomfortable and didn't. Given the things I did later in the week, this seems peculiar, but there we are.

Our next stops were Buzz Lightyear (basically a ride-through video game that I enjoyed well enough--and the picture below tells the story), the Little Mermaid (like the Peter Pan ride, a trip through the movie), Mickey's PhilharMagic (a 3D movie experience with orchestral elements) and my favorite: the Haunted Mansion--on which more in a moment, but first, a picture:
Buzz Lightyear

The Haunted Mansion was a requirement because, no matter how far technology takes us in amusement park experiences, it was the first, best, most mysterious attraction ever. I love the holography used. I love the fun creepiness of it. It's a classic. I think we did it twice, enjoying both the familiarity and the newness of things we didn't notice before. It's a must for me on every Disney trip. It never gets old.

Our itinerary says that we had hours and hours of free time before we went to do Pirates of the Caribbean, but I will be honest and say I don't remember what all we did during that time. I know that there as shopping (because, well, Disney and shopping). I know that there was penny smashing (because, well, Disney and smashed pennies). I know that there was lunch, too, but for the life of me I can't remember where or what we ate.

ETA: During a chat with David, he reminded me that we took the monorail over to the Contemporary and had lunch there. I remember he and Kate really wanting to see it, so I went along. It was refreshing to get out of the park for a bit, to see the holiday decorations (gorgeous, gingerbread Christmas tree!), to try a different menu (which was excellent, by the way), and to learn the bits of Disney trivia there. For example, among their beautiful mosaic murals is a portrait of a goat with five legs, because the artist believed that no hand-made thing should ever be perfect. At some point during the trip, I believe that Kate picked up a pin that portrayed the five-legged goat. (end edit)

Later in the day, we did do Pirates of the Caribbean, which gets weirder to me the older I get. It's also weird to me that they've inserted Jack Sparrow as seen in the movies. The first time I saw it--at the California park--I was kind of delighted, but this time for some reason, it was too much, too odd. Nevertheless, I was kind of delighted by floating through the sea battle.

The Enchanted Tiki Room is always fun (though part of me wonders about the political correctness of it) and the Jungle Cruise was goofy as hell.

We ended the day with an excursion to Downtown Disney, where we had dinner at Wolfgang Puck Express. For an ostensibly fast food joint, the food was excellent. I had the butternut squash soup and a salad and couldn't have been more pleased.

We turned in early because we had scheduled Animal Kingdom for Wednesday, and we knew t was going to be a Big Day.
scarlettina: (Autumn)
Last Wednesday, I hopped in my car and rendezvoused with three coworkers for a roadtrip to McMenamin's Edgefield Resort in Troutdale, Oregon. I had never heard of this place until the retreat was announced at work, and then [livejournal.com profile] jaylake mentioned going to see it with [livejournal.com profile] radiantlisa a month or more ago. After seeing their pictures, I was intrigued.

Cut for length, but includes pictures! )Overall it was a good, productive trip. It was odd to be in Portland and not see my usual cadre. But it kept me focused on my purpose for the visit, and allowed me to bond a bit with coworkers. It was time well-spent.
scarlettina: (Angel)
It seems like we did All the Things this weekend. What did we do? Good heavens.

Well, first of all, [livejournal.com profile] davidlevine was up from Portland for the weekend. That, already, was a goodness.

For another thing, the Kobold Press crew—myself most assuredly included, even at long distance—won two golden ENnie Awards at GenCon for the KOBOLD Guide to Worldbuilding, one for Best Writing and one for Best RPG-Related Product. I was following the awards ceremony via Twitter while I finished up a project at work that was on deadline. I thought maybe we'd win one, for best writing, mainly because we'd won Best RPG-related project last year for the Complete KOBOLD Guide to Game Design and something else ought to get a turn. But no—the fans and the industry decided: we got two, and I couldn't be more delighted. David and I went out for a celebratory dinner at the Stumbling Goat, which was just marvelous.

Saturday, we went sailing. JF invited us all (that being David, myself, EB, and MD) onto the Look Far for a cruise from Seattle to Bainbridge Island and back. David and M each took a turn at the wheel, and we enjoyed sunshine and lovely breezes—not to mention the beautiful sights that Puget Sound has to offer, including sea lions, seals, all manner of water fowl, and beautiful cityscapes. I brought along a bottle of bubbly wine to continue the award celebration, and we all partook, even if it was just a sip. Pictures beneath the cut )
We were so pooped at the end of the day and we stayed in, watched a movie, and went to bed pretty early at the end of it all.

Sunday, we got up to go write with the usual suspects. I got 1000+ words written on the novel without even realizing that I was doing it. We strolled the Ballard Sunday Market, then stopped at the Ballard Locks, where we saw seals and salmon jumping out of the water—splish splash!—into the warm summer air.

We then dashed home to change our clothes and attend my friends TM and AH's wedding. AH works at the Seattle Opera, and arranged for the ceremony to be held on the stage, where the set for the current performance still stands—a set from Wagner's Ring Cycle! The bridesmaids carried bouquets; the groomsmen carried spears. It was a marvelous thing, a remarkable set, and a lovely, lovely wedding. Greetings from Valhalla, where we are all very serious people )

David left for Portland this morning and I went back to work. Yep, it was a busy, busy weekend, but we had a marvelous time!
scarlettina: (Portlandia)
Sunday was about breakfast and shopping.

We started the day at Slappy Cakes, a Portland restaurant where the tables have griddles set into their surfaces and where patrons can, if they choose, make their own pancakes. It was part of the JayCon weekend festivities, so we were there with a delightful crowd, many of whom I hadn't seen on Saturday, though they were, in fact, at Flying Pie for the party, including [livejournal.com profile] fjm in from the UK. Jay's Niece made confidently knowledgeable recommendations about the pancake add-ins and toppings I should try. I had a moment of "Wow, this kid is poised," and then remembered the gene pool from which she sprang--no surprises there, just delightful confirmation of how nature and nurture combine. My pancake concoction included a buttermilk batter, bacon, and hazelnuts, with a dab of nutella and a little maple-flavored syrup. (The attendant forgot to bring the apples I'd hoped to include.) The sweet-and-savory thing wins again. The attendant gave me so much nutella (and charged so much for it) that I took home leftovers and had a little bit this morning on a rice cake. All delicious, and the visiting with everyone was quite fine. Spent a little more time with Jay though, as I said yesterday, it wasn't nearly enough because time with friends is never enough. But I'm glad we went. Breakfast was delish and the company even more so.

Here are [livejournal.com profile] lillypond, [livejournal.com profile] davidlevine and [livejournal.com profile] kateyule at breakfast. David demonstrated pancake prep technique with great focus and seriousness. I am proud to point out that the lovely golden brown pancake on the griddle was one of mine.
Q, David, and Kate at Slappy Cakes

[livejournal.com profile] fjm photographs [livejournal.com profile] lillypond:
Farah photographs Q

And here's the guest of honor, bright eyed and bushy-faced, with the impressively articulate Niece in the foreground:
Jay and the Niece

After the meal, [livejournal.com profile] davidlevine, [livejournal.com profile] kateyule and I went to the mall, there to refurbish David's wardrobe, now that he's discovered that he ought to be wearing men's slim-cut shirts, him being more-or-less the definition of slim. We had some success in the endeavor. I got a pair of leggings and an adorable top at Forever 21, of all places (and for cheap, too). Sadly, we didn't have that kind of success for Kate, though I am determined to do so on the next visit, one way or the other.

And then I was off to the train for the ride home. I passed out almost as soon as the train began to move and slept for about an hour. Spent the rest of the trip reading and playing Ticket To Ride on my iPad. Very recursive.

Spent the evening with [livejournal.com profile] ironymaiden, C and E catching up on the most recent season of Doctor Who. It was so good to see my Seattle people. As for Who, the last couple of seasons just really haven't grabbed me. Sure, they're entertaining and all, but I haven't felt compelled to watch nor particularly attached to the characters. It's just fun adventure TV now. We have three episodes left of the season to watch so no spoilers please.

It was nice to come home to my space and my cats, even though it was rather later than I'd originally intended. Both of the kitties wanted attention, which they received. And now, it's time for me to swing into the work week. I wish i had a day of recovery before diving back into the thick of things.

Kitten

Sat, Dec. 15th, 2012 07:29 am
scarlettina: (Everything Easier)
I posted about yesterday's tragedy on Facebook and a long discussion ensued. This morning, I'm choosing to post pictures of my kitten for those that need a kitten break. This is Zeke at four months:

Ooh! What's that?

More pix here )

Today is also my mother's yarzheit, gone 29 years. Still miss you, Mommy, especially today.

Paris Pictures

Sun, Nov. 25th, 2012 07:32 am
scarlettina: (Angel)
One of my goals for this weekend was to finally post pictures from the Europe trip. Last night, I posted the first batch, the pictures from Paris. Take a look if you're so inclined.
scarlettina: (Happy birthday cupcake!)
Tuesday was my birthday and it was a perfectly smashing day!

Cut for pictures and narrative )Me, going into orbit with the Lunar Orbiter

I couldn't have enjoyed myself more that day. This was the way to celebrate the turn of my half-century, and if the company was any indication at all, then I lived those first 50 years well. I can only hope that the next 50 will be half as good.

See the complete Flickr set.
scarlettina: (Default)
Happy Father's Day to all the fathers I'm proud to call friends (too many to name). And happiest of happy Father's Days to my brother who's an awesome step-dad to my niece. And lastly, a tip of the hat to my own dad (seen here with little me), gone too soon, but loved no less for it and always in my heart.
Daddy and me poolside

Happy Birthday

Sun, Apr. 15th, 2012 10:08 am
scarlettina: (Default)
Today, my Sophie Sestina is three years old. She has grown to be a beautiful queen. Also? A silly girl. She is fierce and opinionated, playful and cuddly--when she wants to be. I couldn't be happier to have her as a companion.

The End of an Era

Thu, Mar. 22nd, 2012 06:59 pm
scarlettina: (Default)
It's finally happening: My brother is selling the sexiest damn car on the entire planet. I admit I'm a little heartbroken; it's so cool and he's had it for so long -- and I've never gotten to ride in it! On the other hand, it's a wonderful sign of the times. He used to say that he didn't have a wife or kids, so he spent his time and money on this. That all, of course, changed last year. I'd take my sister-in-law and niece over the car any day of the week, but I'll miss the glamor and magic of this amazing vehicle.



In case you missed it, you can read the New York Times article about it and/or watch the New York Times audio slide show, which features him talking about the car.

PS--Turns out this is what he's buying when he gets the money. My faith in him as a stylish gearhead is restored. :-)
scarlettina: (Default)
. . . where she's not supposed to be. She is a bad, bad cat . . . but I love her anyway. :-)

scarlettina: (Snowflake 2)
For the record, she refused to go out on the balcony for a snow portrait. I found this to be an enormously sensible response to snow and freezing temperatures. She's a smart girl. Instead, I took this portrait of her sitting where she's not supposed to be. As she often is.

scarlettina: (Default)
I've been wanting to post about the NY trip since I returned. With my health being what it's been, that's been nearly impossible. I've had no focus and significant trouble breathing. I decided that tonight, regardless of health, I wanted to post at least about the highlights.

I've already posted about my days with my brother and sister-in-law, the grand day out with my niece, my brother's special holiday gift, and my arrival in Riverdale.

Here's a picture from Christmas morning with my brother. He and my sister-in-law gave me both the book we're looking at and that gorgeous pashmina draped around my shoulders. The book is a collection of photographs by the remarkable and previously unknown Vivian Maier, whose work you should become familiar with if you have any interest in photography whatsoever. Her story is compelling and her work is beautiful.



After settling at [livejournal.com profile] suricattus's place, I met Betsy Mitchell to stroll through Central Park and to have tea one afternoon. That was delightful; I just love her to bits.

[livejournal.com profile] setsyoustraight joined me in town for two days, and we took the town by storm, hitting the American Museum of Natural History for what was ultimately a rather disappointing visit (though I ran into Ann Crispin, Michael Capobianco, and Victoria Strauss while we were there, a lovely surprise). We made up for it by doing some thrift shopping, having a terrific dinner, and seeing Alan Rickman and Jerry O'Connell in "Seminar," which [livejournal.com profile] kradical has rather effectively reviewed. We then stayed after the show to meet-and-greet with the actors. I got my playbill signed by every member of the cast. And here's a picture:



Friday evening, I met [livejournal.com profile] kradical, [livejournal.com profile] girasole and [livejournal.com profile] wrenn for dinner at Mario's on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx and some of the most delicious Italian food I've ever had. What a wonderful evening out we had together. It was a delight to see them all; I just wish our visit could have lasted longer.

On New Year's Eve I spent some blissful time at the New York Public Library doing genealogical research. I swear, someday I'm going to do a trip back east specifically for research purposes and no other reason so I can just ensconce myself with the microfilm readers and dig away. I enjoyed my time there so much, and got just enough information to be satisfied.

Then I wended my way downtown to meet a couple of girlfriends for New Year's celebrations at a Cuban restaurant. The food was delicious, a menu of dishes I'd never had before, and we had a wonderful time together.

Then I got food poisoning.

I worked hard to get well over the next day and a half, and though I had to cancel my next couple of meal engagements (among them my meeting with [livejournal.com profile] herself_nyc, regrettably), I was well enough to have dinner with my friend Edward Marchese, another wonderful Italian meal, this time at Il Corallo in the south Village. Ed and I haven't seen each other in about 12 years, and he's just as delightful as I remember him being in person. It was a great way to wrap up the trip.

scarlettina: (Fork You Back)
I'm currently ensconced at Chateau Felidae with [livejournal.com profile] suricattus, Boomer, and Pandora. We're taking it fairly slow today, which is optimal, but lunch at a kosher deli was a requirement. I haven't been to a proper deli in more than a year. Some things you just forget....


(That's a turkey/tongue/corned beef/cole slaw on rye there on that plate. HUGE! I ate half. The other half will be dinner tonight. Beside it is a plate of the best potato salad I've had in years. OMG, that was good!)
scarlettina: (GWTW: Pleased as punch)
Landed at Newark at 12:30 AM Wednesday morning. Brother picked me up and we drove back to East Setauket, getting home around 2 AM. Good time for catching up, just the two of us.

Thursday, the weather was sunny, clear, and relatively warm for December--50 degrees! Bro took out the Victory and we took about an hour on the bike through the rolling hills of Port Jefferson running errands. Great to ride with my brother.

Thursday evening, Bro had to work, so my sister-in-law, my niece, and I attended the event he's helping to run, the Newsday Holiday Lights Festival, which featured a garden of light, an ice skating rink, vendors, and live music. Fun to see Bro doing his community relations thing for the paper. The music was very good, a local high school jazz choir that had a really fine sound.

Started today with my sister-in-law at her Jazzercise class, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I really needed the workout and was grateful for the chance to move. The rest of the day was auntie/niece day. My niece had a whole list of things she wanted to do with me. First and most important: for a couple of weeks now, my brother, sister-in-law, and niece have all been making a point of telling me to reserve Dec. 23 for a special outing, but keeping a secret what that special outing was to be. Today was the day: Tea at The Secret Garden Tea Cafe in Port Jefferson. Hats were de rigeur, so we selected from their collection of chapeaus and other adornments. Here we are, my sister-in-law, my niece, and me, arrayed in style.



Appropriately attired, we enjoyed food that was tasty and mostly healthy (except for the quarter scone and the half a chocolate chip cookie, but their hit was negligible); when I totaled up the PointsPlus Values, it was more than I usually have midday, but I figured that with the workout, I was in pretty good shape. I also enjoyed the Collins Chocolate, a tea that featured chocolate and hazelnut flavors, and almost--but not quite--tasted like coffee. Just lovely.

Then it was back to the house, where I was treated to a concert on recorder, where I helped my niece with three craft projects (sewing, paper crafts, and yarn crafts), where I looked at her scrapbooks, and in which I played four games of Apples to Apples with her and her mom. We lit Chanukah candles all together. Made me very happy. There was gift-giving (I received a copy of Rhythm of the Pridelands--music inspired by The Lion King--and Shadow of the Vampire on DVD, a movie I've wanted for a very long time). By the time my brother got back from work tonight (and he's finally off now), we were all a little punchdrunk and silly. Our time included an extended discussion about underwear and the Big Lies we tell kids about Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny (the last of which my brother evoked as an 8-foot-tall monster with terrifying front teeth who weaves baskets and lays eggs all year and then goes about the countryside terrifying children by offering them baskets of sweets).

It's been a good couple of days. Tomorrow the Christmas madness begins. I'll be cooking a roast leg of lamb and a sweet potato casserole, (another friend of Bro's is contributing another entree and side dish) and a pile of Bro's old friends will be coming over. Yeah, despite what it looks like, the craziness has barely begun.
scarlettina: (Default)
Proof that cats do sleep in cat beds. Also, that Sophie has come into her own as an imperious queen with a lot of attitude and very pretty eyes. At two-and-a-half, she's quite self-possessed.

Queen Sophie Sestina takes her leisure
scarlettina: (Seattle Space Needle)
I've been out and about with the camera a bit lately, and fairly pleased with some of the results. Both last weekend and this weekend, I took mini-trips with friends to take pictures.

Last weekend, I spent some time with CS at the Volunteer Park Conservatory and the Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery (Seattle's Civil War-era cemetery), the former a favorite destination of mine, the latter one I'd never been to before. The weather was stellar for walking and shooting, and I got some lovely photographs that day, several of which I'm quite proud. We ended the day with a fine meal at Matador in Ballard--excellent company and delicious food.

Yesterday, I was off with a gang of the usual suspects, CS, and his 8-year-old daughter S to walk on the Alaskan Way Viaduct. For those of you not local to Seattle, the viaduct is an elevated, double-decker roadway that runs along Seattle's western waterfront. It was damaged during the 2001 Nisqually Earthquake and, since then, the city has debated endlessly about its fate. The decision was finally made to dismantle it for safety reasons, and to replace it with an underground tunnel. I'll not debate the merits of this decision here, but simply say that the loss of the viaduct will adversely affect Seattle's traffic patterns. It will also deprive us of some of the most wonderful views of downtown, West Seattle, and the Olympic Mountain Range available in the region. Yesterday, the city opened the viaduct to pedestrians for the first and only time in a sort of farewell celebration. It was a typical Pacific Northwestern autumn day, though perhaps darker and wetter than we've had in a while--the rain was a fine, constant shower, the clouds low and dark gray--thwarting hopes for clear photographs of views from the top. I'm sure that photographers more gifted and skilled than I got lovely, moody images nevertheless. The pictures I took are not art by any stretch, but they are my souvenirs of a roadway I have used regularly during my time in Seattle and which I will miss. (Note: The last five photographs in the set were not taken yesterday but during past drives.) [livejournal.com profile] ironymaiden took some wonderful pictures, and [livejournal.com profile] e_bourne took some nice shots with her iPhone. CS took a couple of striking images, too.

I'm going to miss the viaduct. I know that a lot of people consider it an eyesore and a wall between downtown and the waterfront but, as I said above, the views from the upper deck were wonderful. I always loved coming home after a long trip and looking down the city's canyons as I passed by, seeing skyscrapers from a good ten stories up in a way not possible anywhere else. Seeing sunsets from the viaduct was marvelous as well. And having used the viaduct as a primary route to the homes of [livejournal.com profile] e_bourne and [livejournal.com profile] markbourne, and [livejournal.com profile] ladyjestocost and [livejournal.com profile] bedii regularly, I've developed a fondness for it because of my associations with them, some of my longest, dearest friends locally. Lastly, the viaduct is one of the things that distinguishes Seattle from many other cities. As we walked, [livejournal.com profile] varina8 remarked that the last time she returned from a trip, she felt as though the city was becoming a generic urban area, losing its character slowly as a result of gentrification and the loss of historic, distinctive architecture. As I consider how the Capitol Hill neighborhood has changed over my years here, I see her point, even though a great many historic structures have been registered and will be saved from the axe. This particular loss I feel somewhat more keenly than for any one particular building because its looming presence is one of the defining features of the waterfront and because I've used it so regularly. I suspect, based on the turn-out yesterday, the number of people who took souvenir chunks of viaduct rubble, and the farewell grafitti, that I'm not the only one who feels that way. The city posted a farewell banner on the viaduct for yesterday's event. I couldn't have said it any better myself.

ETA: Pictures and video of the start of demolition. It actually hurts me to watch the walls being destroyed. ::sigh:: And here's a video of how the southern bypass will look during the demolition of that first mile of road. Pretty cool. And you can get a sense of what the views of town are like from the viaduct. With thanks to [livejournal.com profile] e_bourne for the links.


------------------------
Things I want to post about:
-- Last weekend's photo excursion
-- The book I'm nearly finished with (when I'm finished with it)
-- The interview/dinner I enjoyed with some of the women from Weight Watchers last weekend
-- The coming dismantling and replacement of the Alaskan Way Viaduct
-- Other stuff I'm sure I've forgotten

Note to self:
-- Make an icon for posts about photography
scarlettina: (Default)
Procrastination comes in all forms. When one is creative, one can manufacture any number of distractions to keep one from one's appointed tasks. This morning, I provide you with but two examples (with pictures).

I made a new necklace! )

I've been watching an enterprising squirrel. )

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