Monday, May 23, 2022

Miami, Seattle and Family

We made plans last October to check a big item off our to do list, a cruise through the Panama Canal. The one we booked was from Miami to Seattle so we decided we would spend extra time at the end visiting our Washington state family. As our departure date neared, we realized that the Bob Dylan , Retrospectrum Exhibit was closing soon so we drove to Miami a day early to see this one time event. I will be writing about our fantastic cruise in the next couple post.
The show at the Patrica and Phillip Frost Art Museum was a collection of sketches, paintings and sculptures Bob Dylan produced over the last six decades. This was the first time many of the works had been shared with the public. 
A collage of magazine covers and Dylan works over the years was a good introduction while watching a video and listening to clips of his music.
There were several works that connected the handwritten words of his songs along with a sketch of his visual ideas about the tune. I found Highway 61 Revisited connected Dylan's birthplace in Hibbing, Minnesota, the Blues of Memphis, the Mississippi Delta and New Orleans, all places along Highway 61. 
Blowin' in the Wind takes on a different meaning with this sketch. Dylan was known for often refining and changing the lyrics of his songs over the years.
This painting, Elevated Train, was done in 2020, but looks back at his time in the city when he was a young struggling musician trying to make it. 
He seems to have a real connection to the rails, as he grew up in Hibbing a big ore mining community. Some times the tracks lead to sunshine and others to dark skies.
A lot of his work has a Impressionist look to it. 
If you are a fan you will recognize these word cards. The video of "Subterranean Homesick Blues" was part a documentary shot in an alley behind the Savoy Hotel in London. 
Most of his iron works have been done in the last ten years. Once again they tie is hometown mining with the things made with the ore mined there. These works recycle old tools into new works of art and often have symbols and allusions.
Words from Dylan's Mood Swing 2013 about gates.
"Gates appeal to me because of the negative space they allow. They can be closed but at the same time they allow the seasons and breezes to enter and flow. They can shut you out or shut you in. And in some ways there is no difference." 
Another part of the exhibit, The Beaten Road, featured paintings of scenes Dylan encountered while traveling. Some are iconic, like the road to Monument Valley. These three painting are 108 x 49 inches in a size that helps capture how immense the scene is in real life. 
Joshua Tree, Sunrise Triptych II, is a rare work as most of his painting include some man made feature. These last two painting really amazed us as they are places we have visited. 
More of his Beaten Path paintings. He has a knack for turning the ordinary into beautiful works of art. 
Another section is the New Orleans Series. This Dylan quote sure captures the city, "There are a lot of places I like, but I like New Orleans better. There's a thousand different angles at any moment ... No action seems inappropriate here. The city is one long poem."
Many of his paintings in this series are very "dark," just like many places in New Orleans.
These are all paintings of scenes from movies that he has done recently. We really enjoyed this exhibit. I don't know if it is going to be traveling to other cities, but if it does it is well worth a visit.

The next day, Easter, we boarded the Norwegian Encore for a three weeks cruise that ended in Seattle on Mother's Day. 
Nanc's sister Judy flew in from West Virginia and our nephew Joe came from Tennessee. It had been several years since we have seen Braedon, Kazuko and Joe so it was great getting caught up with them exploring Seattle. Here we are at Old Stove Brewery at the Market in Seattle. 
While we have been to the Market before, we had never seen the gum wall. The story goes that this was once a street that led to a movie theater.  Before going into the theater movie goers would stick their chewing gum to the wall and it just evolved from there.  It really is quite disgusting!
Something I never noticed before is a long line at this particular Starbucks. Even though Seattle has 133 Starbucks, most with very short lines, people wait to go to this one because it is the original Starbucks.
We are always willing to try new foods and the Uwajimaya Asian store in Seattle had something we have never had. The Bean Fish has hot, fresh and yummy Japanese fish-shaped waffles. Mine was stuffed with Mexican sausage, cheese and chips and Nanc got one with shrimp and curry.
Here is the finished waffle. It was delicious. They have 25 plus different fillings including some desserts. If you get to Seattle check it out.
Our number one reason for our visit was to visit the burial site of Nanc and Judy's brother Dave who passed away in December 2020. Dave was in the US Army for 27 years, retiring in 1994 with the rank of Sergeant Major.
Sergeant Major Scott.
Dave's grave at Tahoma National Cemetery. He is always in our hearts with love.
Nanc, Kazuko and Judy.
We were happy we were able to pay our respects with Kazuko and her family. 
Jim, Nanc, Judy, Jonathon, Braedon, Joe, Kazuko and Allen after a wonderful meal at Fujiyama. Anytime we are with Kazuko we can count on great Japanese food.
Of course a meal at Fujiyama is about more than a great meal. Our cook kept us on our toes tossing rice balls and setting things on fire. 
Our flight to Miami was at 10:30 PM so we had another full day in Seattle. We dropped Judy at the airport and drove into the city. On the left are the baseball and football stadiums with the Space Needle behind them. It's hard to believe the Space Needle was the tallest building west of the Mississippi when it was built in 1962 for a World's Fair.
We have been to Seattle a number of times, but never went up to the observation deck of the needle that is 518 feet high. It is 605 feet to the top of the spire.
Our plan was to go to the Space Needle and then the Museum of Pop Culture. Unfortunately, the MoPOP was closed that day.
On the lower observation level there is a glass floor that rotates. It was amazing how many people would not step on the glass. The cog is attached to a one horsepower motor and makes one full revolution an hour. 
It is a wonderful 360° view. Looking west across Puget Sound is the busy harbor with the Olympic Mountains in the distance.
Looking south is the downtown, with many buildings now taller than the needle. In the background is 14,411' Mount Rainier. One reason we stayed so long was we wanted to see if the clouds would clear enough that we could see the top.
Looking northeast is the Cascade Range and 10,786' Mount Baker over 100 miles away. In the foreground is Elliot Bay. The spire on top of the Space Needle is reflecting on the glass.
It looks like our patience paid off as we could just see the top of Rainier above the clouds. We were not sure if it was real until Judy sent us the next picture she took as her flight went over the mountains. 
Yes, as they say here in Seattle, The mountain was out.
Since the MoPOP was closed we had time to walk to see this statue of Seattle born Jimi Hendrix. He was one of my favorite rock and blues artists who I was fortunate enough to see live in Atlanta back in the 60's.
The Space Needle and the Museum of Pop Culture. The MoPOP was designed by architect Frank Gehry who also did the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angles.
 We had a great time in Seattle getting caught up with Kazuko and her family and were happy to be able to finally pay our respects to Dave.  

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Our Home-Stuart and Other Adventures

While I have written a couple posts about our travels since we got back to Stuart, I have not done any about what we have been up to locally. A big reason that we picked Stuart as our new home is there are so many things happening here that we love to do. Number one, there are many great local restaurants offering a variety of food. In 2020 we did not get to check them out but we have made up for that this year. Another thing we love is the many music venues. Several pubs have local musicians and the Lyric Theater has top notch acts. Also the weather, especially in the fall, winter and spring, is fantastic. Of course, there are the beaches just a few minutes away and we have done some short Florida road trips exploring our new state. All the things we like about Stuart was recently confirmed when Southern Living placed it in their top ten places to live. 
Our first road trip was to Orlando to see the Duquesne women's basketball team play FCU. It was a great game even though the Dukes were on the losing side.
Here we are with Washington native and the Dukes head coach Dan Burt. It was nice seeing Dan and seeing a game in person.
Another annual Stuart event is the air show. We don't have to leave home to see the planes as fly really low over our home. By going to the field we got an up close look at many different planes.
The acrobatic planes are always fun to watch. 
Every Sunday the Rockin Riverwalk downtown on the river has a free concert. There is all kinds of music 50 weeks a year. Dotty Kelley is now one of our favorite blues singers.
Another big move was buying a new car. Our CRV had 160,000 miles on the odometer and was towed another 100,000, so it was time. We went just to look and five hours later we drove our new Hyundai Tucson home. I'm now old enough that I have a car that was more expensive than our first house. 
A new car calls for a new road trip. It was back to Orlando with George and Nan to see the Van Gogh immersion show. 
It was a very interesting way to see his art projected on all four walls.
An interesting Van Gogh self portrait. Well worth a visit if you get a chance.
The beaches are great. It is always possible to find a spot with few or no people. There is plenty of parking and unlike other places we looked it is all free.
Another great music venue is Terra Fermata. It is outdoors with old patio furniture seating. This night it was the Treasure Coast Blues Society featuring Dotty Kelley and Joel DaSilva
A little condo project. We collected many things during our twelve years on the road. Nanc made them into a coffee table collage. It brings back wonderful memories everyday.
Sometimes living in a condo complex can get a little weird. In Lexington Lakes there are 22 buildings with a unit 104. One evening as I was closing the door this is what I found. I called the Walmart (they had delivered it) and the security guard. Neither offered a solution. Just as we decided to put the perishables in the fridge a neighbor from the next street showed up to claim her groceries. She was lucky as we were only the sixth unit 104 she went to.  
We did another road trip to the Gulf Coast to spend a couple days with Rick and Denise, Missy and Marty, Dawn and Jed (friends of Rick and Denise).  This is the only picture I took of the people, Missy and Nanc shelling. We did enjoy getting away.
All these folks are friends we met at Betty's RV Park. Kathy and Dave are still on the road while George, Nan, Nanc and I have settled in Stuart. The travelers were here for a week so we got to show them around our new hometown. 
It was Mardi Gras so we had everyone over for a Cajun dinner of shrimp etoufee and a king cake.
All dressed up for a show at the Lyric. The Lyric is a small theater that was renovated during Covid. The first show we saw was Jazz great Branford Marsalis.
We also saw blues singer Ana Popovic. The Lyric is a great venue and there is not a bad seat in the house.
We had our first and only visitors this season from up North. Our friends Mike and Sherri stayed for a few days. We went to the Elliot Museum where George is a docent, so we had a great personal tour. 
The Elliot has a great collection of old cars. They are on a rack kind of like Carvana. You tell the docent which car you want to see and the machine picks it up and brings it down to the turntable for a close look.
There was a special exhibit featuring paintings by the Highway Men. They were Black artists who painted and sold their work along the highways to Florida tourists back in the 50's. At the time they were very inexpensive, but some are now worth thousands.
While these paintings are well known in Florida, they aren't as popular in other places. Since they were bought by tourists there is likely many up north that people have and don't realize their worth.
A walk on the beach with Mike and Sherri. We do enjoy having friends visit and hope things get back to normal so more people will be traveling.
We decided we needed a longer road trip so we went to see our friend Betty in Louisiana. We had not seen her since our 50th anniversary party on the Outer Banks in 2019.
We visited our friend Elda whom we met in Abbeville several years ago. She was doing well, but like all of us looking forward to more normal times.
It was Cajun Jam Session Saturday at Touchet's where we saw many Cajun friends. The accordion player was a young man who is deaf. He was truly amazing.
The group from Betty's in the Horny Corner. 
At Touchet's they have a special tribute to musician Dave who was killed in a tragic accident last winter. He is someone who we always looked forward to hearing when we went to Betty's. RIP our friend. 
Just this week we did a day trip to Sebring to get together with Escapade Directors Duane and Jean, who we worked with at three Escapades. As we always say, getting caught up with friends when traveling is the best. 

Our future plans include another cruise. This one is out of Miami, through the Panama Canal and up the West Coast of Central and North America. It ends in Seattle where we will be spending a few days with our sister-in-law Kazuko and Nanc's sister Judy.  In July we will be heading north, staying six weeks in WashPA. 

Life is Good - Stay Safe - Stay Healthy.