Heading Back to the Emerald City–

View from the Pike Place Market, which is always on my must-do list when visiting Seattle.

–Or, I have a feeling I’m not in So-Cal anymore!

Recently, I decided to throw caution to the wind, and throw the shoestring budget I’ve been on out the door, so that I could head back to the place I called home for nearly a decade: Seattle.

The Emerald City. The Pacific Northwest and all that.  Tony Bennett may have left his heart in San Francisco, but for me, mine will always be firmly entrenched in the city nestled on a gazillion bodies of water, between the Cascade and Olympic mountains. Lush and green, and a far cry from my current dessert-like home, where the weather may be gorgeous all year round, but limited rainfall makes it a largely brown and arid region.

For those who have read my Road Taken saga, you’ll know that I moved to Seattle to be with my ex, who wasn’t an ex back then, but rather, a boyfriend, and then a husband. The “ex” part came long after we left Seattle. Which does make me wonder, what if we’d never left Seattle at all?  Hmm….

Seattle is green in so many ways. What struck me is how many people grow their own vegetables and the like, right along the sidewalk. So resourceful!

Anyway, I still have friends there. Good friends, who I don’t see often but when I do, it’s just like old times. Friends like Pam, who was the subject of three entire Road Taken installments.  There’s also Pat, my highly-organized, pays attention to every detail, kindred spirit. She loves to write and watch soaps—we were both hooked on Dallas and Knots Landing for years—and Tom, my quiet friend who prefers to call me by my alter name, “Della Wolfe,” and who drives me to drink with his flair for making tantalizingly addictive, Galliano Sours.

And, then there’s Clare.

Clare is a published author, whose latest book, Soccer Dreams, was inspired by a project we once worked on together. She also is a performer and songwriter (when in Seattle, you have to catch The Righteous Mothers in concert, and you’ll see Clare singing and on the piano). She’s been helping me tremendously, with my half-baked attempts to write my memoir. She’s like my coach and she’s very critical. When others keep telling me they like my stuff, Clare sees right through my charade and shenanigans, and tells me, I could do better. She pushes and pushes until I’m up against the wall and ready to cry, “Uncle!”

Mother’s Day proved to be a beautiful day for a three-mile walk around Greenlake.

But, in the end I have found, Clare knows best, and she’s really a lifesaver, helping me put together something that is cogent and actually tells a story.

It was Clare that suggested I come up to Seattle and take a Life Story seminar, with her mentor, Brenda Peterson, author of a memoir titled, I Want to be Left Behind, about life with her Southern Baptist family as they eagerly prepared for the Rapture.  I’d never taken a class on memoir writing before and I learned all sorts of interesting tidbits in this one, which I’ll be sure to share in a future post. In the meantime, please enjoy these photos, taken during my visit to the Seattle of my heart.

This photo of one of Pam’s daughters exemplifies how green Seattle is, and also at peace I feel when there. It is like a green cathedral.

This dog doesn’t seem to have a care in the world. He’s going places but has no idea where. I wanted to get his owner in the picture as well, but they were going too fast!

This is one of Clare’s favorite spots for contemplating and zoning out: The Japanese Garden at the Washington Park Arboretum. Too beautiful for words!

If I moved back to Seattle, I’d want to live in this spectacular building. A work of art, if you ask me!

Pam’s Yorkshire Terriers. Aren’t they adorable? I wanted to scoop them up and bring them home.

View from Fremont neighborhood. Look closely and you can see Mt. Rainier in the background. Breathtaking!