Our first night, we stayed in Seattle. Marion had made reservations at Ivar's, and we dined looking out at the water and a beautiful sunset. I had salmon, which was perfect. We talked in that excited, disjointed way we do when we haven't seen one another in awhile, and we're trying to remember all of the things we wanted to tell each other. After dinner, we got lost trying to get back to the hotel, but we are modern women, and we called upon the almighty iPhone's GPS to guide us safely to our overnight haven.
Safely back in our room for the night (we are such party animals...) we checked out each other's makeup, and skin and hair care. We are girls, after all. We bemoaned wrinkles, and rosacea. Getting old is not so much for us, but we haven't found a way around it yet. Finally, we were gabbed out and we fell into deliciously soft beds and pillows, and I'm quite sure we both snored.
SATURDAY: Up early - no sleeping in! The weekend will be gone before we know it. We ate breakfast at the hotel, and packed up, ready for a day in the city. First stop: Queen Anne's Hill. Beautiful homes, gorgeous expansive views of the sound, and cute shops. How would it be to have a view like this every day? They're a little far away in the picture, but look at those mountains in the distance! Breathtaking...
Or how about this view? Seriously - I could get used to this.
We walked around the neighborhoods, and wound up at a little neighborhood park. I loved the juxtaposition of these two houses. One so modern, and the other so traditional and Leave It To Beaver.
And I even caught a little plane streaking across the blue, blue sky.
Right in front of the traditional house, there was a little botanical garden. Most things were just beginning to wake up in the nice weather that weekend. I don't know what this tree was, but it was promising some beautiful blooms later on in the spring.
On to another park that overlooked the Seattle skyline:
On to Pike's Marketplace. I love this place - so much to take in, so many things to look at and, perchance, to buy. Today being the amazing blue sky sunny day it was, all of Seattle was out en masse. You could hardly move through the marketplace. We ended up going across the street to a French bistro and ordering a bread and cheese plate. And juice - orange for me, grapefruit for Marion. It was just the thing to revive us. We talked and talked, and then we trekked off around the corner to Sur le Table. We shopped the gadgets and kitchen lovelies before walking across the street to the marketplace once again. We bought some crab to take home for dinner, and I had to get 2 cakes of some incredible lavender soap from one of the vendors.
By now, my dogs were whining and barking, and it was time for me to stop walking. We headed back to the car and headed for home in Lacey. All the way home I couldn't get enough of the beautiful Washington scenery. So many trees! Big ones! And at last we turned into her driveway, and I saw her huge pine tree in the front yard. I think she could sell that thing to Rockefeller Center next Christmas. It's ENORMOUS, and her house is so tiny next to it. I hadn't seen her house for almost 3 years now, and she has done some beautiful things to it. New tile throughout the living areas and kitchen, and a new huge flat screen in the living room (!!!!!) She says her house is too small, but I think it is cute and cozy. And the shower never runs out of hot water. Her cat greeted us at the door, and I was able to get to know Mia the Cat. I am going to send Mia the Girl a picture of Mia the Cat. And vice versa. Because they have the same name and they are just about the same color - don't you think?
Mia the Cat
Mia the Girl
After unloading our bags and shopping loot, we set to work making a delicious crab salad. It was so good, and it was a treat to be in my good friend's home. We talked and talked some more. Suffice to say Marion has had a tough year, and I am in awe of the grace with which she carries on. She talked and I listened. I talked and she listened. It was a symphony of two good friends catching up and licking our wounds, encouraging each other forward, and laughing at our silliness. Two girls who are completely sympatico. Except in politics. We agreed to disagree there, and avoided that particular hotbed. Instead, I shared my views of Why We Are Here and Where We Go From Here. Marion lost someone dear to her recently, and her heart is lonely and in pain. I hope what I had to say helped. I love her and wanted to give her something hopeful to think about and consider. After awhile, I realized that I am allergic to Mia the Cat. Itchy, itchy eyes and much sneezing. I took some allergy tablets and we went to bed.
Sunday. Superbowl Sunday! We had some breakfast, made ourselves beautiful, (I can dream, can't I?) and took ourselves into Olympia. We did a little shop wandering - there is no end to the interesting nooks and crannies of Olympia. We stopped at the market and got some vegetables, and various items to make our dinner with. We stopped at a bakery and got a baguette. At home we sauteed zuchinni, butternut squash cubes, and mushrooms with butter, garlic and olive oil. We glazed it all with a balsamic reduction sauce, and splashed in a little white wine (taking care to cook out the alcohol!) and served the whole mess over pasta. Bread slices and a wedge of Brie as an appetizer. We dined like the royalty we are. We watched Super Bowl commercials, and Madonna's half time show. (I liked it, didn't you?) We talked and ate and talked until we were tired. Tired, but heart healthy from sharing views and opinions with each other. So satisfying.
Monday. Time to pack up and head home. Marion had saved a big treat for the last. As we made our way back to Seattle, we made a pit stop in Tacoma. There is a courthouse there that used to be a train station and it houses some amazing blown glass art in it's huge lobby. I think the artist is the same one who did the blown glass in the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. The courthouse is next to the Museum of Glass. Sadly, we didn't have time to go to that. Next time. But we wandered all through the historical train station that is now a courthouse. This is what we saw there:
An amazingly intricate piece hung from the center cupola
The cupola with the center hanging artwork, and against the far window, "sticks" of blown glass
Against the back window overlooking the bay, was this blown glass field of poppies
The entire window as a sort of silhouette
Overlooking another side of the lobby was this blown glass "dream catcher..."
...with Marion posing in front of it. Unwillingly, I might add...
And finally, against the remaining side, a "basket weave" of painted papers. Gorgeous!
This is coming to an end very soon, I promise. But I did say I would have pictures, and I aim to share them! Now, the last thing before leaving Tacoma was to go outside the courthouse to the Bridge of Glass. This is a structure flanked on each side by a tower of turquoise blown glass nuggets.
And then, as you walk across the bridge, there are shelves encased in glass that have fantastic blown glass vases on two tiers of shelves. I wish I could have one of these:
As you are passing by these beautiful works of art on the side, you can still look up and be rewarded by even more fanciful shapes and colors of glass encased in the ceiling of the bridge. The whole thing was absolutely incredible. Here are just a few sections:
I could spend hours looking at this. It was like being under the sea. It was one of the most beautiful works of art I've ever seen. Too bad - it was time to go to the airport. We walked to the car, and even though I'd missed L and home, I knew I was going to miss this time with Marion. I need to be a better friend - a more attentive friend. We are both getting older, and I don't want to miss out on any more of her life. As we'd talked over the weekend, I realized how much of her life I'd missed while I was busy raising kids and figuring out my own crazy life. I don't want that to happen anymore. I want to be more involved. Closer. More available. We need to be a part of the remaining events in both of our lives. That's the good thing that comes from weekend epiphanies with dear friends: the desire to improve and be better. The certainty that we are capable of great things. The knowledge that we must cheer each other on and encourage those great things to become realities. We have been given a great gift in the responsibility of our friendship, and I intend to make it grow and blossom. Because by caring, loving, and nourishing, we both become stronger and better.