The Dolphin Trainer Who Loved Dolphins Too Much

This is a wonderful in-depth story. When I was little I dreamed of being a dolphin trainer…I lived just minutes away from Sea World my entire life and I imagined it the best place ever to work…back then…until I knew more…knew it wasn’t the best place at all for the animals that lived there…and My heart was broken. More need to know what truly goes on…and this is an incredible story. A must read if you love animals…or think marine parks are anything but a business…with a bottom line above all else.

Longreads

Tim Zimmermann | Longreads | April 2015 | 25 minutes (6,193 words)

Panama City Beach, Florida is set on the alluring waters of the Gulf Of Mexico, in northwestern Florida. It’s a town of cookie-cutter condos and sprawling outlet malls, built almost entirely on the idea that blazing sun, a cool sea, white sand beaches, and copious amounts of booze are an irresistible formula for human happiness (or at least a pretty damn good time). Everything about the place—from the ubiquitous fast food, to the endless chain stores, to the Brobdingnagian miniature golf courses—is designed to anticipate and then slake the vast and relentless array of human desires.

Prime among the entertainment offerings is Gulf World Marine Park. It sits on Front Beach Road, the main drag that parallels the seafront, and promises sun-addled or bored families a respite from the nearby beach. By day you can swim with dolphins…

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The Big Green House: Thanks for the Memories

I love learning more about the history of this beautiful area…and have a fascination with old, historic buildings in particular. This is an amazing story of just one single house. Oh and I can’t wait to now visit the Seattle Room on the 10th floor of downtown library! Thanks for making me aware that even existed!

Wedgwood in Seattle History

In one hour the hundred-year-old Big Green House was reduced to rubble. In one hour the hundred-year-old Big Green House was reduced to rubble.

On February 17, 2015, the hundred-year-old Big Green House at 7321 35th Ave NE came to the end of its lifespan and to me, it felt like the death of a friend.

The Big Green House was like an eccentric, misunderstood person, perceived by some as spooky because of the way the house loomed up over the surrounding business district.  In getting to know it, I found the Big Green House to be more like an elderly person with long-held memories of bygone days.  The Big Green House was clothed in the architectural preferences of long ago, and will now be replaced by the newest design trend in commercial districts in Seattle:  a storefront building with apartments in the upstairs units.

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White Walls

I love museums…and interesting photography…and a good story…this blog post has all three! love!

Shenanigans

I adore a good museum. The stark blank walls and empty floors just waiting for art to fill them, the hushed conversations of observers trying to pay their respect to masters long gone, the more chaotic confused discussions surrounding the modern and contemporary works, the strokes of pencil on paper of art students trying to capture the genius, and I find such peace in these surroundings.

On my recent hop over to NYC, I popped into the big three, The Guggenheim, The MoMA, and the MET. I liked them all for varying reasons, and i’m sure i’ll be back to visit them again someday.

The Guggenheim. Hands down some of the coolest architecture, both inside and out.

Guggenheim

Guggenheim

Sorry, no photos past this point here.

Guggenheim

The MoMA. Probably my favorite of the three.MoMA

I”m not sure how I feel about this “modern art” thing?

MoMA Entry

Oh wait, yes I do… and I’m…

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Tulip Time!

Tulip Time!My first Spring in Seattle had me wondering how on earth I would ever replace my yearly trek to the beautiful Ranunculus Flower Fields just north of San Diego. Nothing felt more like Spring than a walk through row after row after beautiful row of a bright colorful rainbow of blooms as far as my eye could see.

That was until we took a trip to Tulip Town. We turned a corner in an area just north of Seattle called Skagit Valley, near Mt. Vernon, and I’m pretty sure my mouth fell open at what I saw. Not just rows and rows of tulip and daffodil blooms, miles and miles of them! In every direction. I was speechless. And knew right then…Washington had brought me to a new place for my Spring tradition…a beautiful new spot to fill my heart and soul with the happiness that only fields of fresh flowers can bring me.

03 21 15_5177_edited-1 03 21 15_5158 03 21 15_5148_edited-1 Daffodils! 03 21 15_5190_edited-1 03 21 15_5188(I love that little rebellious yellow daffodil bursting through the sea of purple tulips!)03 21 15_5203The most important piece of advice I can throw out there if you are ever up in this beautiful part of the world in the Spring and you’ve got a trip to Tulip Town on your bucket list (which, you should…if you like flowers even a little)…

WEAR GOOD RAIN BOOTS!!!

Get some that come up at least half way up your calf just to be safe. Because if you want to get out, walk around and really get in to the fields to see the tulips up close (yes, you do!)…that comes with puddles and mud. Lots of them. And you’re gonna get dirty.

Take a look at the last picture I posted here…and the rows between the flowers. Yep. It’s exactly like that, and then some depending on when you go and which tulip farm you visit. But don’t let a little water and mud deter you! Get the rain boots, grab the camera, and get out there…you just might discover a new Spring tradition!

Umbrella Optional

From under my umbrella

So one of the first things I had to adjust to in Seattle is the not-so-constant, but, VERY frequent rain in my day. Contrary to rumor, it does NOT rain here all the time. But! It does rain…a lot. I will say again…in caps…A LOT. Not often heavy…mostly it’s usually esp in the Spring and (gasp) even Summer…it’s misty mostly…but the crazy thing is that it can happen anytime.

Since I moved here I’ve seen more rain than I thought could happen anywhere. It’s easy to complain at first…to think oh man, MORE rain…but then you look around…at the amazing trees…amazing green all around that gave this area it’s name…the EMERALD city…green. Green just doesn’t happen. It happens from the perfect environment that includes lots and lots and lots of water. So…you, I, ME, learn to live with it and in it. I knew nothing my first year here. Knew nothing of rain boots and hats and…sometimes, umbrellas. I say that because in a land like this of so much rain…most people don’t use an umbrella at all. They rely on hoodies…and layers…and the right jacket. I haven’t honestly used an umbrella since I moved here. Until today…until I decided it was the right thing to go see my favorite Spring amazing thing…the cherry blossoms at the nearby Univ of Washington…uDub affectionately…and of course I wanted to take pictures of it…the sights…but…in the rain? The downpour? I needed protection not for me…but…for my camera. So…then the umbrella happened. To protect not me…but the precious camera. 🙂

But honestly really you would think umbrella sales here are a given. But actually, no, you stand out as a complete outsider, tourist even, if you pop open that umbrella. I have joined the ranks, since moving here, of going umbrella-less for most days…except today…when I took my usual annual trip to the Univ of Washington to see the amazingly beautiful blooming cherry blossom trees…when usually it’s sunny a bit and sorta at least temperate…but not this year…Spring came early here and there is still rain to be had…so I took my tiny point and shoot for a rainy walk through campus to catch the blooms.

I thought about it while I walked…this former California girl who didn’t know much of rain honestly…now knowing how to dress in layers, enjoying a mild walk in a rainy day to see some amazing beauty…and it reminded me again how glad I am that I came here…took the chance…trusted in life in general that risk was worth it. I gave up A LOT of sun…for A LOT of rain…but…in the end those drops, that risk, brought me to my fiance, the next chapter of my life. So so worth it. So grateful for these steps in my life…rain or not!

What’s in a name?

03 01 15_4683Lots of new things awaited me in Seattle when I moved. Among them, actual changing Seasons. I moved in the summer…when the days are long offering light till 9:30 or later at night, the temperatures were warm. It was a lot like what I left behind in San Diego honestly, and I thought Summer would remain my favorite season of all.

Then, by October, the leaves on many trees around town changed from green to vibrant reds and oranges. It was breathtaking…and my first time witnessing an actual Fall. I thought my new favorite season would surely be this, not summer anymore.

Then, by December, all the beautiful leaves were gone leaving spooky stick trees behind. Daylight, if you could call it that with all the grey clouds and fog and rain, was short with it being dark by about 4 in the afternoon. Low temperatures were about 30ish (mild, I know now, but not at first for a California girl!), with the highs only into the 40s maybe. This was Winter, and it was cold, and wet, and absolutely not going to become my new favorite season. I clung to Fall.

But then, sometime around early Marchish, the cherry blossoms start blooming. First there’s just a little pink here and there, and little by little as the days pass…the beautiful amazingly pink cherry blossoms are everywhere. Spring. A signal of new life, new beginnings, vibrant proof we had survived Winter which was now in our tail lights. Spring. My new, forever, favorite season of the year.

This year, February, still buried in grief and sadness having just lost my Mother, I searched for any sign that I would ever smile again, feel anything close to normal life again. I started walking, taking drives, anything to distract myself from sadness. We were blessed with unseasonably warm weather and frequent sun for the first part of the year…which played a trick on the plants, trees and even birds in the area. Robins started singing in February, daffodils started raising their little heads everywhere, and the cherry blossoms started filling our neighborhoods with more and more pink every day.

I walked, I drove, looked at the cherry blossoms and smiled. I had not only survived another Winter, I had survived a heartbreaking loss. And this was my first real sign that I would be ok. I would never be the same, but I would be ok. And I would smile. I was smiling. Every time I look at those pink pink trees…I smile. And so the name for my new blog, new life, was born: cherryblossomsmiles. All one word. I love it.