Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Farewell, Edmonds

We had a big mid-day meal, celebrating my Mother, celebrating just being able to be in the same room together for a meal, my Mother and my two sisters and some of their families. As sunset neared, we weren’t big hungry, so we just picked up some takeout from a nearby grocery deli and picnicked on the Edmonds beach.

I saw a wonderful photo opportunity; I was going to capture the Edmonds Ferry as it was heading into the sunset. Just as the ferry began its departure, a man stood in the exact place I had designated for the ferry to enter the sunset, on his phone, waving madly, waving farewell. Waving and waving. And not leaving.

So. When you can’t get the photo you want, grab the photo you have.

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Farewell, Edmonds!

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May 8, 2016 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Humor, Photos, Road Trips, Seattle, Sunsets, Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Pensacola Sunset 3Jun15

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June 3, 2015 Posted by | Pensacola, Sunsets, Weather | Leave a comment

Tiepolo Sky

Just back from a quick trip to Seattle for a wedding, driving home. and there is the most beautiful sky!

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A long time ago, working on my undergraduate degrees, I took a minor in Art History, and spent happy hours at the Seattle Art Museum on projects for my classes. Up on the ceiling of one of the rooms (this is in the old Seattle Arts Museum up on Volunteer Hill) there was this wonderful Tiepolo ceiling, with clouds and blue sky and . . . God? I can’t remember anything but the sky part, and tonight’s sky in Pensacola reminded me of that ceiling.

May 19, 2015 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Biography, Education, Pensacola, Sunsets | Leave a comment

The North Cliff Hotel in Fort Bragg, California

When AdventureMan and I saw this hotel on TripAdvisor, we had a feeling it was a good place for us. Space? Yes, lots of it, and a balcony, too. A grand view, 180 degrees, with, yes, crashing waves on rocks! Check! And just for grins, throw in a whirlpool tub with a view of the sunset, oh my, what heaven. AdventureMan really enjoys a good massage, and these long days of driving and hiking leave him eager to try the hot swirling waters in the privacy of our own room.

When I call the North Cliff Hotel, I first ask if they have any rooms available, and then I ask if the military discount is also available for retired military. It often isn’t, so I always ask.

“Of course it is!” she replied, “You served your time, didn’t you? Of course you get the discount!”

Wow. That totally sealed the deal. We wanted to stay there anyway, but having that nice discount made it even nicer.

AdventureMan was so helpful; I said I wanted to take photos before we messed up the room, soaked all the bathtowels and robes, etc. and he was patient with me.

What I didn’t know was that I had somehow set the camera on black and white, so I got all these sepia toned photos, weird because it was an accident, but nice because I like how they look.

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There were people who complained about the fog horn. Folks, it’s the coast. If you want the coast, and the crashing waves, you’re going to have to welcome the fog horn. It’s a safety thing . . .

We loved this place, and we loved the quirkiness of Fort Bragg altogether, it felt more like a real-people town than Mendocino.

This is what the sunsets looked like from our room:
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May 1, 2015 Posted by | Adventure, Beauty, Cultural, Customer Service, ExPat Life, Hotels, Road Trips, Sunsets, Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Monterey, CA; A Sentimental and Nostalgic Journey

One of the (many) highlights of our trip was spending time, once again, in Monterey, California where we had attended the Naval Postgraduate School and the Defense Language Institute. We used to lie in our bed in La Mesa Village, and we could hear the seals barking. We discovered that with our mighty ID cards, we could get a wonderful suite at the old Del Monte Hotel, now Navy Lodging on the campus of the Naval Postgraduate School.

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The Del Monte is one of those magnificent hotels built to welcome post guests to destinations served by the railroads. The Ahwahnee is another such, as are Yellowstone and Glacier Lodges. The Navy took it over during the war, and used it as a rest and rehabilitation center, then later turned the hotel campus into a school specific to Navy needs of navigation, engineering, strategy and decision-making.

We had a two room suite with a bathroom and a kitchen. It was spare, but very spacious. Having space, for me, is like breathing. Having high ceilings makes all the difference.

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This was the sunset from one of our windows:

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After settling in, we went out to revisit our old haunts. The biggest shock was La Mesa Village, where we once lived. When we got to Monterey, and saw our quarters, I cried. They were little three bedroom units in groups of four. We were lucky, we got an outside corner unit, so we had more windows and more light than many others, but we also had black linoleum. It was horrible. I cried.

AdventureMan found someone leaving who had carpeting cut exactly for our unit, and bought it to cover the linoleum floors. It was pretty hideous, a greeny-gold kind of shag carpet, but it covered the black linoleum. I thought he was a rock-star.

We couldn’t even find our old unit in La Mesa Village. Now, they are all duplexes, two story, I think they tore down all the old units and built new, modern ones. Each is painted differently, and they look very California suburban, no longer like military housing, except that one or two units have flags outside.

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We head down to Asilomar, always one of our favorite drives, and feast our eyes on the coastal rocks and the crashing waves. It is a glorious spring day, people are all barefoot and enjoying the sun.

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We stroll along the Monterey waterfront, which has changed also. It was always touristy, but it used to be sort of grungy, and now it is clean – and kind of bland, full of shops full of tourist kitch made in China.

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When planning the trip, we spent a lot of time looking for fun places to eat, and this was the place we agreed on instantly, the Bistro Moulin. Good thing we made reservations, they were turning people away as fast as they showed up. It’s an adorable place, very welcoming, and the food was fabulous. It got too crowded to take photos with discretion; we started with a pate, then I had the Petrale Sole, which was fabulous, and AdventureMan had Mussels in Wine Sauce which were more fabulous than my Sole 🙂

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We were totally caught by surprise by the most nostalgic moment on this part of our trip. We were enjoying ourselves so thoroughly, being back in Monterey and Carmel, just relishing soaking in all the good times available, and then, as we got back to our room, we heard a trumpet. The long, haunting notes of Taps began to play, and it was as if we were still young students at the PG school, everything stopping to pay homage to the end of the day and its sacrifices.

We were equally surprised to be greeted by Reville the next morning!

April 27, 2015 Posted by | Adventure, Aging, Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Biography, Counter-terrorism, Cultural, Customer Service, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Renovations, Restaurant, Road Trips, Sunsets | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sedona Airport Vortex, Watching the Sun Go Down

I do not want to be insensitive, or to offend anyone who understands vortex energy and has experienced it in Sedona, and finds him/herself consequently “on the path.”

In fact, I do not consider myself an insensitive person, so although I am by nature a little skeptical, I was willing to give vortex energy a chance.

I never experienced it.

In fact, every time someone started talking about vortex energy, I had a hard time keeping my face straight.

I DO believe in positive energy, and in energy, and how we interact with one another.

It may be a language misunderstanding; I do believe in holy places, and I have experienced the feeling of knowing I stood on holy ground.

Sedona is reputed to have special energies, and special sites for this energy. I only know this much because I went to a blog called LovesSedona.com where they explain the energy sources and where to find them and how anyone who comes within a quarter of a mile and has any sensitivity at all will feel the energy of the vortex.

We were near every one of the four vortexes; right at one. I felt awe at the beauty of Sedona, unending awe at this beautiful place. We met some wonderful people. But a special energy? I guess I am just not sensitive enough, but I allow that YOU might be, so I refer you to LovesSedona.com, from which I share the following information about Sedona Vortexes and their energy:

What is a Vortex?

A vortex is the funnel shape created by a whirling fluid or by the motion of spiraling energy. Familiar examples of vortex shapes are whirlwinds, tornadoes, and water going down a drain. A vortex can be made up of anything that flows, such as wind, water, or electricity.

The vortexes in Sedona are swirling centers of subtle energy coming out from the surface of the earth. The vortex energy is not exactly electricity or magnetism, although it does leave a slight measurable residual magnetism in the places where it is strongest.

There are four main energy vortexes in Sedona. The subtle energy that exists at these locations interacts with who a person is inside. The energy resonates with and strengthens the Inner Being of each person that comes within about a quarter to a half mile of it. This resonance happens because the vortex energy is very similar to the subtle energy operating in the energy centers inside each person. If you are at all a sensitive person, it is easy to feel the energy at these vortexes.

If you are planning a trip to Sedona, here is a map to help you easily locate the four main energy vortexes. On the map, a diamond indicates the location of a vortex. Although the Sedona area has many hiking trails that only a vigorous hiker can enjoy, the vortexes are all easy to get to, and no strenuous hiking is required to get to any of them.

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One of the Sedona traditions is to go up to the airport and watch the sun go down from the airport viewpoint. It is supposed to be a very special Sedona experience. This is what it looks like in low season. There are probably three hundred and fifty people here to watch the sun go down, take selfies with the sun going down, take photos of your friends with the sun going down, etc.

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When you go, there are many many many many people, in fact if you have ever been in Key West to catch the green flash of the Key West sunset, you will have a deja vu feeling. This is a very funky kind of gathering, everyone is there, locals, tourists, probably a pickpocket or two.

We got there just in time to park, walk over, and catch the sunset. Sedona is laid back and has a wonderful sense of humor about all this, and individual Sedona residents volunteer to be The Ambassador, who shows up and maintains some order and good will as the people stream to the viewing place and then stream back to the parking lot.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that it is going to be chaos once the sun goes down. As everyone else is watching the last gleams of the sun (and it is getting pretty chilly, I might add) we head for our car to head back down the mountain before the teeming hoard. The Ambassador on this night is a very tall woman, dressed as a Sheriff, I think, but a Sheriff in a dress. She is very good at keeping order.

We have made reservations for massages while we are here, and are trying to find where it is. When we get our confirmations, it is at a different location than we thought, so we have to find it again. I am confused because the lady says it is nearer to where we are staying than the original site, and the place where we think we are going is almost next door to the hotel. After a while, I figure out that where we have reservations is NAMTI, and the spa near us is NAMASTE, not the same. NAMTI is only a block away, we find it and we know where we will be going tomorrow.

A totally great day in Sedona, Arizona.

April 21, 2015 Posted by | Adventure, Environment, Events, Living Conditions, Local Lore, Road Trips, Sunsets, Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sunset Over Tucson

I miss all the Kuwait sunrises, and the daily photos I would post, every sunrise different. Tonight, as we head home from Zeman’s Ethiopian restaurant in Tucson, I catch the sun setting in Tucson:

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April 18, 2015 Posted by | Adventure, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Road Trips, Sunsets, Travel | , | Leave a comment

Pensacola July Sunset

It’s a sunset, yes, but it’s all about those delicate opalescent colors.

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July 26, 2014 Posted by | color, Pensacola, Photos, Sunsets | Leave a comment

Refined Dinner at Fresh Catch Bistro, Fort Myers, FL

We were in the mood for a really fine dinner, not your beachy fish n’chips, but something nice, you know, like with a white tablecloth. Reading through reviews on Trip Advisor, we debated several and decided on Fresh Catch Bistro. It was only about 4 in the afternoon, but it was a Saturday night and there were a lot of tourists in town, so we bit the bullet and made a reservation.

After a little while, we decided to head over ‘early.’ We thought it was early. Evidently ‘early’ at Fort Myers Beach is all a matter of perspective, because the road into the beach was bumper to bumper, so much so that while we had thought we would have time to drive around, now we were wondering if we would even get there in time for our reservation.

Traffic narrows into alternating lanes, then down to one lane crossing a bridge into Fort Myers:

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Sometimes you wonder just how many cars can fit on one narrow little strip of road and beach properties . . . Fort Myers transformed it’s turquoise and purple beach look with a little Christmas deco:

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At Fresh Catch, the phone for reservations never stops ringing. We are glad we thought of it earlier in the afternoon, but even so, we weren’t early enough to snag an outside table. We were happy with the window table we were shown to, and the beautiful view of the sunset, which broke through the low-lying clouds:

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Our waiter, Jason, was superb. He was knowledgeable about the specialties, and helpful. He took good care of us. One thing we really liked is that while the restaurant filled quickly, and had some large parties, and while the tables were fairly close, you could still have a private conversation without being overheard by the next table.

We ordered the bacon wrapped scallops first. The plate showed up with two scallops and a bed of small greens, but when we cut into the scallops – sheer heaven. They were the largest scallops I have ever seen, and one scallop was about eight bites of perfectly seared and spiced scallop. It was a divine way to start a meal.

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As we ate our scallps, the sun was setting:
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People can actually come to the restaurant from the beach side, and this parachutist beached just in front of the restaurant. There was a lot going on.

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Hubby’s Garden Salad with vinaigrette dressing was delicious:
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As was my own Ceasar:
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And then, the main course. AdventureMan ordered off the special menu where you choose your fish, choose the preparation, choose the sauce and choose a side. His tuna arrived perfectly seared, and huge – like three inches thick. It was melt-in-your-mouth perfection, although he commented some people might find it a little rare in the middle. The preparation allowed the full tuna flavor to shine:

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I had the Mediterranean Shrimp, huge shrimp served on a bed of creamy risotto, with a sauce of sweet red peppers, pesto, capers, artichoke hearts and just enough cayenne to get your attention. It was a taste treat.

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Sometimes, even when you are full, the experience is so positive that you just want to keep going. We looked at the dessert tray, full of enticing goodies like creme brulee’ and key lime pie and chocolate selections, but were entranced by a pear tart, modest and refined. AdventureMan chose it, and I was so glad he did! We miss France, we miss the art of preparing foods simply and exquisitely. This tart was about as close as we’ve been able to find in Florida to that artistry.

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We ate too much. We enjoyed every minute and every bite. So totally worth it.

December 31, 2013 Posted by | Customer Service, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Florida, Food, Restaurant, Road Trips, Sunsets | , | Leave a comment

A View from the Sunset Inn, Panama City Beach

We love this place, the Sunset Inn, a little Mom and Pop kind of motel, hard to find in over-developed Panama City Beach with its huge soulless condominiums towering over the white sands.

As we walk in the door, the view hits us and we breathe in the sea air and go “Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.” The minute we walk in the door, we start to feel relaxed.

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We both have cooking to do, so we get busy, but busy with glances at the view, and trips to our balcony to breathe. It is COLD, with a cold wind, but so gorgeous, so breath-takingly gorgeous, and we are happy.

Soon, there are cranberries cooking for Mom’s Cranberry Salad and hot juice brewing for the punch, redolent of cinnamon and cloves and orange peel, wonderful smells filling our room – and that view. Life is sweet.

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And then, just when you think it can’t get any better, the sun starts to set, the light goes all golden and soft and oh, life is sweet.

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December 1, 2013 Posted by | Beauty, Cooking, Cultural, ExPat Life, Food, Holiday, Hot drinks, Hotels, Photos, Road Trips, Sunsets, Thanksgiving | Leave a comment