Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Julie, Robert's sister, sent us an email and invited us to come to Seattle for a birthday party.  Robert asked whose and Julie's only comment then was that it was a celebration of the fact we had lived for another year.  We talked about it and decided we would do scary as that is for me.  I am still not comfortable traveling, actually not comfortable preparing to travel but once I get on the plane or to the final destination, I am fine.  I believe Jim set up the tickets and we were all set to fly to Seattle. Marissa picked us up on Thursday, 4 December, and drove us to Cleveland Hopkins. The flight had an amazing takeup, never felt the wheels leave the ground.  We were a bit late getting off since the plane needed to be de-iced so we were late getting to Phoenix and had to literally RUN through this huge airport to catch the flight to Seattle.  But we made it.  Julie and Jim picked us up at SeaTac and we drove to their lovely home on Cougar Mountain, Bellevue.

This as the agenda that was taped to our bedroom door as well as in the kitchen...and we pretty much kept to it altho I must say SLEEP wasn't really something we did a lot of.  For Robert and I, we struggled with EST vs. PST.  Robert was better at sleeping in than I was but then I am a morning person.  I am guessing that Julie doesn't sleep at all.  Jim a bit more.  Barbara and Jon Dahle did better.  But it was a fun family time.

 We could choose whether we sleep in the 'honeymoon' suite upstairs or the bedroom we used previously which is what we chose. The best part was we slept in the famous or infamous sleigh bed which Julie bought at a huge sale in  Utah and we drove to Seattle with this tied to the top of their car.  It is a lovely piece.  And we were very comfortable.
 Huge tree.  Julie in her kitchen.
Robert at the grand piano.

Robert reading in their reading room.   Look to the left and see the rocking chair with that headrest laid over the back?  Well this is what it looks like:   This rocker belonged to Robert's grandparents, Frank S and Lottie Hatch in Scipio, UT. The few times we have visited Julie, Robert always heads there to stroke it and let it rock.  Remembering.

Hanging on the wall by the table is a picture which Robert has also always loved and always talked about.  Julie has had it reframed and this frame does so much more for this painting than the one I have always seen it in.  Robert loves these two pieces and I always wonder if Robert misses not having these connections with his grandparents so I asked him. Typically, he just replied, Out of sight, Out of mind.  For Robert, his memories serve him well.  For me, I love the feel of my parents and grandparents things.  Reminds me of a line from The Quiet Man when Maureen O'Hara demands to have 'me things about me.'
Here I sit at the 'bar'.  I cannot remember the joke we made about me sitting there but it was cute...something akin to being at the back of the bus.

This is the dining room table that came from Scipio as well.  It's circular until the leaves are inserted and then it sits quite a few.  In this picture it is set for Sunday dinner when we were celebrating Julie's birthday with her daughter, Robin and granddaughters, Zoey and Thea.

 This is the view outside on their balcony...that white bit at the horizon is Mt. Baker.  There actually are homes in the middle of the picture but the fog was covering the valley the morning I took this picture.

We awoke Friday morning and had a casual morning and then went to the Seattle Temple.  It was great for us to be all together as a family there.    But it was really good for Robert and his sisters.   As fortune would have it, Jim noticed Jeff Brown therein and it was Jeff who baptized Jim in 1976!  What a nice reunion that was.

  There was this lovely little bird sitting on the branch, never moving the whole time we took pictures.  I wasn't sure it was real but it was!  After this we stopped in at the stake center next door where they were having 2 weeks of Nativities.  As in most creche displays, the people lend their various creches and the displays are always lovely, as it was here.  But in this display all portions of Christ's life was displayed in the various rooms.  
The Cultural Hall stage set the scene as Bethlehem town.    

There was even a room for children to feel comfortable playing in as well as having costumes to dress up in and have their pictures taken.  
This is a metal set that Julie shared.  
  This set Robert really enjoyed since it was made from sparks plugs.
 Jim Shore set

But my favorite display took me by surprise..totally surprise as in the kind that takes your breath away. This was set up in the font...and was the empty tomb.  Surrounding it on floor level were huge rocks with the one rolled away. The room was darkened with a small light directing attention down to the tomb, with the folded linen and crown of thorns.  It was so moving.

We returned Sunday afternoon to listen to a specific musical number.  The Dahles and Jim looked around the displays again. Robert and I sat on the couch when suddenly Robert looked up and saw Buddy Kennedy, Jacob's brother and his family.  We raced out to have a chat with them and, of course, snapped a selfie.  

After leaving the Temple and the Stake Center we made a stop at an LDS bookstore that also has a Distribution Center.  It's always great to be able to visit a bookstore, to touch books, look inside, read a paragraph.  Wish we had one in Ohio...anywhere in Ohio.

Home for a steak dinner which Jon and I helped assemble and cook...and then we were off to Seattle to see The Nutcracker, performed by the Pacific Northwest Ballet Company. It was such an enjoyable night.   The sets and costuming were designed by Maurice Sendak.   and that was very obvious.

The foyer was exquisite with chandelier and areas for photos to be taken.

Saturday was Julie's 72nd birthday.  She in amazing. I have no idea how anyone who is 72 can move as fast as she does, do as much as she does. She seems like she's tireless. All the time.  She prepared a wonderful souffle for breakfast and then had a hair appointment.  Robert and I went with her and enjoyed visiting some shops in the Crossroads Mall where there was a French Bakery.  We bought a Pain au Chocolat and took it to her to nibble on as her hair was styled.  There was live music and a wonderful silver store.  Man! Could I have bought a bunch of things there. Such pretty bracelets!

Timing changed from the agenda.  Barbara and I suggested we take Julie and Jim out to dinner instead of having her cook for us.  After an afternoon of this n that we went to The Kirkland Docks (actually Houghton Dock specifically) to watch the ships come in. There was one large one with the Dickensian Singers, caroling to the crowd on the pier and around the bonfire (with speakers).  It was lovely.   Barbara counted about 19 other ships of various sizes, all lit with Christmas lights, that sailed around the large one. 

From here we hustled to  Bellevue to experience the Snowflake Lane Parade,  outside Macy's at Bellevue Square.  We all stood along the street and enjoyed the fun while we waited for the drummers.   Across from where we were positioned, when the street was not yet filled, you could see the platform along each light pole and the steps where the drummers used to climb and then to stand on these 'drums'.  Then after Christmas til Dec 31st the theme turns to New Years and the kids still perform.  It was so much fun!
From the day after Thanksgiving til Christmas, high school drummers perform (for $100/night) every night.  And as Julie mentioned, it helps that all the drummers are so cute and animated.

This year there were street performers and we got the guys on stilts to sing Happy Birthday to Julie.  They also have a snow machine which allows 'snow' to gently fall on the spectators.  What a great could you not be ready for Christmas after such an event.

After this, we swam like salmon upstream, through the crowds to enter Macys and check out the stores.  Julie had me visit Chico's and I needed to take a picture for Jordan.  

 This was in the center court.  If you look close you can see Rudolph leading Santa's 8 reindeer.  Santa is on the 2nd floor right by the Visit Santa area.  Perfect!  Shopping here is not for the faint of heart, I tell you.  I bought a lovely green sweater  from Macy's.  There were outfits in the back of Nordstrom (I think) that originally cost $1845.00. This was the prettiest of those outfits...  Hysterical.  Julie and I went to the walkover to another section and here hung a Dale Chihuly MAMMOTH chandelier.  It was so lovely. Chihuly went to a senior center and taught the senior citizens there to blow glass and then he assembled this chandelier.

Next we went to the Sheraton Hotel to view some gingerbread houses that were created as a fundraiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.  These were not just little houses...they were HUGE!


 Here is some drilling machine that actually is real and got stuck beneath the surface of Seattle and which is now being excavated...very slowly.


But even prettier was this display, behind glass, filling up the whole wall.  Glass!

After these visits we parked in an underground garage and had dinner at a Thai restaurant called Tangerine.  It's been a great day and the only problem we had was getting out of that garage when the gate wouldn't read or accept our parking voucher.  But we made it home.

Sunday meant church...but because of the Nativity event was filling the building, we only had Sacrament Meeting.  As mentioned above we returned for a 3pm performance by a friend of Julie's who played the Irish flute, the piccalo, and the Irish pennywhistle and sang.  Lovely.

Julie cooked her curry meal and it was ready when Robin and her girls arrived.  Lovely and lively discussion during dinner and then the cake and gifts.  I had offered to make Julie a cake and she asked for chocolate...and what's better than Hershey's Disappearing Chocolate Cake and Chocolate Icing.  Between the layers I added frosting, layer of whipping cream and sliced strawberries.

Hopefully Julie enjoyed the cake.  I had gotten up early in the morning to bake the cake and frosted it after church.   It's always fun to receive gifts. (Dahles gave us gifts for Christmas from the bookstore!  Honestly, gifts are fun to give and fun to receive especially when unexpected)  Robert and I picked out a lovely silver necklace from that special silver store I mentioned earlier.  Plus we had MIZPAH engraved on the back of it.  It seems perfect for a brother and sister living so far apart.  The Hatches aren't really good at communicating in good times nor bad and I think I need to step in and get Robert to call his siblings.  Frank W. wasn't here with us and when we tried to Skype with him but he was traveling home, preparatory to having hernia surgery.  He and I exchanged a couple of emails during this time.  Hope Frank does well with this surgery.

The last thing on our list that we hadn't gotten to and which was the one thing I looked forward to seeing was the Garden d'Light, held at the Bellevue Botanical Gardens.  When we were in Seattle last time we visited the gardens and it was so lovely.  There were postcards that showed what it was like during Christmas and I had thought how marvelous it would be to see such wonders...and here I was, seeing them.  They have a slew of volunteers to create with strings of mini lights all these look-alike flowers and plants and animals.  We walked the paths twice.

A colorful parrot in the tree.

Corn and carrots and a bunny enjoying dinner.

Grape Arbors

Mushrooms but looke behind see the tail of the Loch Ness
Palm Trees but see Loch Ness Monster.

Rake and fall leaves


Under the sea

Robert wants one of these stellas in our backyard...and he knows the exact place to get one...Urban Sawmill in  Cleveland.

Tomato plants in cages.
Remember, these are lights, all lights.
Robert and me
Robert plans to develop vertical gardens next year and this is the perfect plan for him!

Weeping Willow
Work benches

Red Hot Pokers
The Grand Finale

And before we left the Gardens we visited Julie's office complex and checked in from her computer there for our flight the next day.  She also signed her award winning book to us.

And thus ended our big adventure.  I say that because as I was sorting out how I felt about this trip before we even left, figuring out how to be able to be that brave when I am so not, I was driving and talking aloud, well, praying actually...and do you know what answer I was given?  "Just go ... and it will be an adventure" and with those words, I was able to calm down, pack, plan and go...knowing I would come back home.

I learned a variety of things including stories from the Hatch family.  Some sad, some tender, some funny.  I learned that Seattle is filled with art.  Julie kept pointing them out but it wasn't until Monday morning that she explained about a retreat she went to that explained there is art as we know it, the obvious kind. And then there's art where just a small change in something normal makes it art.  For instance...a lighted tree becomes art.  Glitter put in concrete makes a wall art.

Monday morning we got up and prepared to leave.  I saw the dishwasher was filled with what I thought were clean dishes so I put them all away...only to learn that they weren't clean--only very well scrubbed and rinsed before going into the machine.  So I used my memory palace and remembered all the places I put dirty dishes away and got them all back out and into the dishwasher.

Julie and Jim drove us to the airport, showing us a few more things along the route and then we left them..exhausted but ready to head home.  We flew back through Phoenix and this time had a 4 hour layover.  We ate delicious food at a full service restaurant along the concourse.  It held us all the way home.

  As we flew out of Seattle this greeted us...Mt. Ranier.

This is the sight that greeted us as we flew into Cleveland...the Terminal Towers lit in Christmas red and green. What a marvelous emotion.  There really is no place like HOME...and Hank met us and took us home.

The picture below was taken by a friend of Jocelyn's...Cleveland is lovely!


Jocelyn Christensen said...

such amazing pictureS!!!

Lin Floyd said...

fun to read about your trip. too bad FW couldn't be're getting brave and having new adventures....come visit us.

Dawn Barrett said...

wow..great pix to detail your trip!!

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