Earlier today, we viewed a couple of condos in the Seattle neighborhood know as Belltown. We really love the area and feel comfortable there as it is just a few blocks from the apartments we were temporarily housed in when we first came to Seattle. I was lucky enough to take these two images while waiting to be taken or resuming our tour of the building. The one on the left was taken while trying to find the parking spot our unit would provide. ( I kind of dig the ghostly Inspector Gadget vibe it gives off. The black & white image on the right was taken in the lobby, showing how the entrance and the mail room are cleverly separated from one another.
By the time I was seven, I was finally enjoying some of the freedom I so craved. With my parents about to divorce, I bounced from my mother to my father and on to my grandmother. Being that my parents had worked different shifts,’ my mom was a 9-5 secretary and my dad working as 3-11 since I was born. I spent most of my early years with my baby sitter and her family of two boys and an older sister. By the age of seven, I became schooled in many of the pockets and corners of my neighborhood. While there were several parks and ball fields within reach, you might think I’d be found climbing monkey bars or holding onto a swing as I launched into the air.
Two things I did enjoy from time to time. However, the sudden need for housing and the new and bursting real estate market provided all the excitement a kid could want or even handle. The first one just happened to be on the way home from school. With there would be a bunch of kids, many I called friends or knew from the neighborhood already hanging out inside just outside of the wood panels and fences marked “No Trespassing.” There would always be an irresistible draw to join in and maybe journey farther within than the older kids.
On one particularly memorable day, some of the older kids started to throw a football around. Perhaps since they were older or I never quite got into throwing the pigskin around, I started heading home. Matthew went long on a pass and fell about two floors to the rubble below. I still remember the moment, the complete shock that left everyone’s expression in a frozen state. I had seen people die on TV and the movies before, but this was very, very different. I still remember the blood, the concrete pieces in his hair, and around his face and that frozen look that said: “I won’t be coming back in the squeal.” The next day, the news of Matthew’s accident reported over the school’s loudspeaker. Though he had not died immediately, he remained vegetated until his heart gave out a few days later. Strangely enough, I always felt his mom. The secretary at the school we attended and the two I later went to, knew I was there when that horrible accident happened. And while I didn’t understand why she was always so hard on me then. These days, I wish there was something I could have said or done something to comfort her during that time.
When my wife asked if I’d go sweater shopping with her, I immediately agreed. Knowing how much time she invests in trying to make sure I’m happy, it seemed as if my wish that she finally do something rewarding for herself had finally arrived. Having become used to accompanying her to a mall or outlet, I was a bit puzzled when she got off the highway and began navigating her way down a winding, dirt road. Was this a well crafted surprise or perhaps a pit stop where jugs of apple cider and sugar coated donuts await. Judging from the barking dogs and strange looking beasts that flanked us on both sides, probably not. It was then when my wife pointed to a small hut and said “That’s where I’m going to look for a sweater.” Being that I already own four sweaters and try to limit my shopping to bacon and records. I took a moment to enjoy the farm and meet its inhabitants. Enclosed within a wide open field were twenty or more Alpaca spread out over what looked like a pretty big field. Like many of the farm animals I’ve come across while traveling, Alpacas are pretty chill and seem more curious than bothered by visitors. Within a few moments, a number of them gravitated towards me, perhaps to say hello, or more likely to see if I had brought presents. Then, just as I began to move closer to the fence, the one pictured below came around the corner like a boss. I don’t know how she got out, but the man who ran the farm told me she was quite the escape artist.
Every month, my wife’s company chooses someone to be on stand by, just in case something goes wrong, or someone needs help with something. While the assignment doesn’t require the person to show and sit alone in the office waiting for the next big meltdown. It does ask that the appointed worker have internet access if called on. When she got the job this weaken, the strong possibility of rain made it feel as if we weren’t going to miss that much. We agreed to stay somewhat local while making a stop at the downtown Seattle library. After a stop in Rat City for breakfast at Biscuit Bitch (Our first time in over two years and our first in Rat City.)
we headed to the 4th Avenue library in Downtown Seattle. Though I’ve been to the beautiful glass landmark numerous times before. I’ve never really explored much of it’s spacious and beautiful decor. After a trip to the top floor where you can get maximum returns of the 3D view of the city and bay, we headed down to the 8th floor where I spent a couple of hours digging through CD’s. For the first time in a long time. I actually felt like a photo journalist. I couldn’t help but want to go back alone and just explore.
Since I was a young boy, I’ve always been intrigued by old cars and trucks. Unlike some, many of my earliest memories don’t involve trips to Disney Land or rides on the merry-go-round with a parent looking on proudly documenting the moment on super 8 film. Not me, my most cherished memories involve my dad taking me to the junkyards just beyond Shea Stadium by Willets Point to find a part for his latest clunker or to exact a debt from someone who couldn’t cover the split on the recent prize fight or that week’s Football game. Those early trips to the unpaved roads and auto part graveyard, along with our treks to the train yards in Woodside, Queens would help shape my love of art, antiques, crate digging for records, antiques and finding the beauty in things others often leave behind. Here’s to seeking out, searching and finding those hidden treasures.
Just prior to the New Year, we took the ferry to Vashon island. Though small in the grand vastness of things. We found a lot of interesting things once we drove off the ferry. With an essential downtown hub that offered good food, culture and most importantly, great coffee. We more than enjoyed our little day trip. Aside from the excellent coffee, we found a bakery, a couple of art galleries, a book store and a lot of local history to keep us both informed and entertained. I didn’t reach for my camera until we stopped for coffee before the trip home. What I did capture while enjoying my fresh cup of beans made my stay feel all the more memorable.
After a quick stop to gas up at Costco. We drove out towards an industrial area near the Spokane Viaduct that overlooked a sort of tent city. Weary of causing any disturbance or attracting the attention of the ones who called the area home. We pulled in to one of the companies parking lots, gathered my gear and headed back around the corner to check out some of the murals and graffiti displayed next to the tracks. It took a while, but I finally came to the realization that I wasn’t going to be disturbed by any of the nearby entities, cops or overzealous security guards that my curiosity seems to attract. After just a few minutes of shooting, I scurried back to the car where my wife was sitting with the engine. I thanked her for allowing me to indulge in my silliness and off we went in search of pancakes and french toast. The end.
Being that I still haven’t adjusted to Seattle’s time zone. Waking up at 5:00 am each day leaves a couple of hours to get out for some fresh morning air. So, on this first Monday morning of my time here. I did just that. Of all the things that welcomed us to the area. It was this micro record / skate shop Here. The tiny shack whose size make me think it once served as a Fotomat or a hot dog stand. So small, I’ve yet to muster the courage to drop in for a look. Finding out that my temporary digs offer more than just a corporate enclave of cold buildings and kiosks has been reassuring to me. As the days pass. I’m hoping my curiosity will take me further. As I hope to get more acquainted with the city’s transit system.
For years now, our weekends have included road trips that have taken us to many cities, states, farms and out of the way eating destinations. Some of my favorite have been out to the countryside where we get to enjoy things that us city folk don’t get to enjoy during the work week. And with all the roadside attractions and calls to “Stop the car. I’m getting out.” It’s a near miracle we ever get to our final destination. With all the recent verbal onslaghts of “People live here, you know.” and “You’re on private property.” I have learned to choose the ground I tread on lithely. In this case, with a 50 mm lens. I was able to keep a safe distance. Though no one showed up or emerged from the collapsing structure. I definitely felt a presence and history as I walked among the ruins.
With all the traffic that builds up around our home. We’ve done a pretty good job in finding alternative routes, short and long cuts and series of detours that help us avoid the traffic nightmares that often accompany living so close to major bridges and tunnels. Depending on the time of day and of course, the season. You’re likely to witness some breathtaking sunsets and sunspaces. For me personally, it’s enough to pull over to the side of the road and reach for the camera in order to capture some of its natural beauty.Of course, my wife thinks I’m crazy. Luckily, I’ve been doing it long enough that she’s come to be expect it.