Sugar Plum Christmas Time

The Nutcracker… that is for children and adults who are children at heart.
Because of an adult is a good person, in his heart, he still is a child.
In every person, the best, most important part is that which remains from his childhood.
~George Balanchine

There is something about the season of Christmas that brings out the child in all of us. The sugar-plum candies on brightly decorated plates, merry tunes playing from a bygone era, and magic of twinkling lights in the rain. As I have grown older there is still a part of me still in child awe at the season of Christmas. The Nutcracker is one, walking along a pathway of lights as they do in Scandinavia, and being together with those who you cherish.

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker at Pacific Northwest Ballet:
img_2613As the quote above says, The Nutcracker has been something I have always wanted to see. This past September I saw the tickets go on sale for the day after Thanksgiving and decided it was time to see this with Nana. I will admit I did pick out great seats for this matinée performance Sunday after Thanksgiving.

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Since this version is different from the Stowell and Sendak Nutcracker many have seen before 2015, this version was brightly colorful and done with the spirit of Christmas all wrapped into two hours. Traditional Nutcracker is weaved throughout the ballet with the famous Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier performing the pas de deux at the end. A new character with some humor to the story is Mother Ginger and her Polichinelle. You just have to go to see the Nutcracker to see this part!

Green Lake Pathway of Lights:

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On a clear cold December Saturday evening, a walk around Green Lake lighted with candles sounded like something Christmas to me. Since this part of Seattle is normally busy no matter what time of day it is, I decided to leave around 3:30pm to have plenty of time to find a parking spot on one of the surrounding streets. I scored one with relative ease! When I first started out on the path, volunteers were just beginning to light the candles and the sun was setting. Halfway around the lake was done with still light, and the other half was done with light from the many candles lining the path.

On the side of the lake where the community park is located was a bunch of hot air balloons laminating the dark skies, and giving off a spectacular view. unfortunately, there were no hot air balloon rides being done at the time. With some hot free hot chocolate in hand, and keeping an extra eye out for small children, walked around the rest of the lake with the masses. I will admit this event gets very crowded fast and people as my mom was saying, can become not so smart in the dark. So if you are not for big crowds, go at the very beginning.

Lastly…..

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Olympic Sculpture & Myrtle Edwards Park

The bluest skies you see are in Seattle! Perry Como had it right, when the sun shines in Seattle it is a beautiful sight to see. After the Terracotta Warriors and lunch, it was time to walk down to the Olympic Sculpture Park on the waterfront. To get to the park I walked 0.7 miles down Broad Street (a hill!) from the Seattle Center to the waterfront.

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There was a lot of people hanging in the park soaking up the sunshine and the view of Elliott Bay. With space and art installations scattered around the park, one could easily find a spot for the afternoon or day and relax.

 

The head sculpture has the best view

Look at this beautiful view below! Pretty skies you see are in Seattle.

 

Oh the Space Needle

Right about the time of this picture, there was a train coming through on the track below. This is a constant reminder of how industrial Seattle still is at the core and the reason why some of the parks here are in existent because of the train tracks creating an open space for the public to enjoy along the water.

 

I raise you an “and”

Also, there is another park the Olympic Sculpture park merges into and this is the Myrtle Edwards Park along the waterfront north of the cruise ship dock. Here there is plenty green grass to picnic on and a beach to view vast blue of Elliot Bay.

A little blurry in the picture of a ship unloading cargo and cruise ships parked at the mooring dock. Below is the famous PI globe atop the old Seattle PI newspaper building. This globe is not longer spins as it uses to and is slated just like the old Rainer Brewery R as a historical relic in the MOHI.

With the weather being so gorgeous and the temperature was in the lower 70s, this was a perfect day to spend in Seattle. Make the long wet winter a thing of the past. After spending a few hours soaking up the sights, I made a sweaty hike back up the hill to Seattle Center for one last snack at a food truck before going home.

Art and Cheese-A Sunday In Seattle


To get me in an art museum is to bribe me. Really bribe me. So when it came to a Facebook event posting about a free three days at the Seattle Art Museum, I believed it was a bribe enough. This past Sunday I went on one of the free days with my Mom to see what the whole collection is about. While there I got to see the newest exhibit to got on displace Jacob Lawrence: The Migration Series. Overall it was fascinating to see a series of paintings dispiriting the great migration of African-Americans moving from the South to the North and West parts of the country. Worth a look.

While touring the museum I realized I am not much of a fan for contemporary art. Some of those things look like a kindergartener painted them. The mouse versus man was interesting, but a bunch wooden stick wrapped in barbwire is something I just don’t get. The room full of china had a few pieces I am familiar with or seen in some of the great houses in England. A lot of art comes from old masters of European paintings. One such paintings are the Greek Orthodox Christian painting depicting Christ’s birth and crucifixion, along with statues of saints (some I have never heard about) on display.

After seeing all of Seattle Art Museum, we headed to Pikes Place Market for some lunch and to walk through the stalls. The weather as always was cloudy with a some sprinkles. We both decided to try out Beecher’s Mac n Cheese for the first time. An 8oz is the smallest they have, and boy is the mac n cheese very rich (yes it is not Whole30 compliant but it is worth the cheat!). There is reason this is world-famous, the cheese is real wholesome cheese.

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Beecher’s Mac n Cheese

After a filling lunch of mac n cheese, we both had to walk some of it off by ambling along in the Pike Market Stalls checking out all the flowers, produce, and even the fish stalls (no fish throwing at all). There was even tulips at one flower stall, and dried flowers for sale as well. Since the rain was holding off, we decided to go visit the park down the road to have a glimpse of Elliot Bay and the Seattle Wheel before the Viaduct come down for good.

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Seattle Wheel and Seattle Aquarium

 

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Victorian Murder Mystery: The International Sherlock Holmes Exhibition

The game is afoot….

Sherlock Holmes is a much-loved “high functioning sociopath” we all are very familiar with. I would not call me a fan girl of the show Sherlock, but I cannot wait for the new season to come in the BBC in January 2017. So I could not resist going to see The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes at the Pacific Science Center instead of braving the Black Friday craziness.

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Outside the exhibition

The day was a crisp cold day in downtown Seattle with some sunshine peeking out from the clouds. With a peppermint mocha in hand, I made my way to line gathering outside the entrance to be the first few people inside. The exhibition is about how the character of Sherlock became, the author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle life (he was one of many who contribute to the beginnings of forensic science), and taking the visitor on a hunt for clues to solve a mystery using the same basic techniques as Sherlock would use during the Victorian times.

At the beginning of the exhibition you are given a small detective notebook with pages for activities within the exhibit to solve a crime. Each part of the exhibit has the background on how the field of forensic started, how those techniques are still in use today and the background knowledge on some of the clues you will encounter while solving the crime. As you walk through the exhibition you are deducting clues and facts in order to figure out what happened at the scene of a crime.

Towards the end of the exhibition there is a section devoted to various shows and movies spun out of the books known to many. One thing I did learn from this section is the phrase “elementary” was never a line uttered by Sherlock or Watson in any of the books written by Conan Doyle. It was added as an effect for a movie back in 1937.

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Horseless buggy

At times I was a little confused on how you are supposed to go about collecting the clues. At one point I had a hard time finding one of articles in 221b Baker Street home of Sherlock Holmes. I had to ask a volunteer for help. It ended up being one of those ah ha moments that should have happened sooner (palm to forehead). One thing I thought was missing was how forensic scientist today use Sherlock Holmes’ techniques to solve crimes. Oh well the scientist in me is always trying to get more young kids interested in sciences (especially young girls).

Overall the exhibition is worth exploring especially if a fan of Sherlock Holmes and you want to put those amateur sleuthing skills to good use. I enjoyed learning about how forensic science came about in Victorian London England, and knowing more about a great-great grandfather who was a London “bobby” on the streets of London around the same time as Jack the Ripper was roaming around.

…. as for whodunit, you will have come see for yourself for the answer.

More Information:
Pacific Science Center Pacific Science Center Exhibit runs until January 8, 2017.

Never theorize before you have data. Invariably you end up twisting fact to suit…:

Hiking Adventure At Discovery Park

What to do on a nice warm sunny day in Seattle? Go on a mini hike through Discovery Park. On a warm sunny day Nana and I decided to go explore Discovery Park in the Magnolia neighborhood. It has been a while since I last was here, and some memories came back-mostly at Fort Lawton’s Historical District.

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First I started off on the discovery trail loop toward the West Point Lighthouse at the tip of the park. Being at warm sunny day in the middle of the week, I saw a few trail runners, dog walkers, joggers and a few other day hikers along the trail. Along the North Beach trail, there were a few paddle boarders, sail and fishing boats in the bay, but a the beach was pretty much deserted. A beach to one’s self is rare moment to be treasured!

At the West Point Lighthouse there was hardly anyone around on the beach and a very peaceful quiet setting with a marvelous view of the Olympic Mountains across the bay. Here is where I ate my lunch in a shade of a tree in the backyard of the lighthouse keeper’s cottages. Two lighthouse keeper’s cottages look to be in sad disrepair compare to how the lighthouse looked. The lighthouse is not open to the public to tour because of automotive equipment takes up all the space in the small lighthouse. *note* be careful of lead paint around the lighthouse. After looking around I headed up the trail towards the Historical Fort Lawton area. One area I had to pass was the West Point Sewage Treatment Plant within the park. I forgot how nasty it is to walk pass this place on a hot summer day! I almost lost my lunch to putrid smell of untreated sewage waffling off the large tanks near the trail.

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Next stop on the hike was the Fort Lawton Historical District. Up until 2011 this part of the park was an Army base. There are a few structures left to signify the remains of an active military post.The last time I was here in 2014, most of the buildings looked very dilapidated. Now they look all cleaned up and restored to blend in with the renovated officer’s houses going on the market. Twenty two of the remaining base houses have been converted into privet residences for the public to buy at an asking price of $799,000 to over 1.2 million. Base on the Zillow photos, these are not the base housing you would be assigned in the military. Few people were about in this part of the park, and came across a few people sitting in the shade of the buildings enjoying the quietness of a hot summer day. On top of the hill is the church where a stunning view of the snow cap peaks of the Olympic Mountain range can be seen.

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On the way back to the car, I came upon the old Fort Lawton Military Cemetery with bone white head stones in neat rows. The cemetery is small compared to the national ones I have been to. A quiet secluded place of rest for the living and those who have passed on. One of the headstones I came across dated back to the 1908 era when a family (Robinson’s) were laid to rest after fighting in the American Civil, Spanish-American and Mexican wars. This like many others in the small section had Civil War to World War Two as the wars represented by those laid to rest here. For a few moments I sat and reflected in this peaceful place under the flag pole.

The hike in total was five miles all around the park. I am very glad to have seen all of the sights with relative peace and quiet. I have come to a point where it is getting too crowed in Seattle area, and having less crowds to enjoy the park was well worth the sweat.

Seattle Skyline Atop Kerry Park

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Panorama view atop Queen Anne

Since the Seattle Center is in lower Queen Anne neighborhood, I thought it would be wonderful idea to take my Nana to Kerry Park to see the Seattle skyline and Elliot Bay in all of it’s glory.

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Downtown Seattle with Space Needle

From the perch atop Queen Anne hill, there is a spectacular view of the Space Needle, downtown Seattle, Elliot Bay, West Seattle, Alki Point, Bainbridge Island and in the far distance Bremerton. From this point of view the Olympic Mountains in the distance on the Olympic peninsula could be seen. To bad the clouds coming in where hiding this beautiful sight. Oh well! Another day perhaps.

West Seattle looks very close to the Southern California beach towns off highway one from a far. The ones with the apartment buildings close to the shore. Train’s song Mermaid comes to mind when I go through West Seattle. Strange but true. These buildings are visible clear across Elliot Bay from Queen Anne hill.

West Seattle Alki Beach (C) Seattle Apartments

Heading home from Kerry Park through Upper Queen Anne, I decided to give Nana a tour of the neighborhood perched atop the hill. Upper Queen Anne reminds me of Nob Hill in San Francisco where the houses are a mix of old Queen Anne, Craftsman, Old Farmhouse, and old/new mansion styles. The whole hill has a quaint charm of old Seattle and this truly an old part one should see if you are into architecture.

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Sitting in the sculpture

After the little driving tour, we both headed home before the rain clouds could catch up to us in Shoreline. I realized how “Seattle touristy” this day was, but I just could not do another Space Needle tour again. This was so much better!

 

 

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