Saturday, April 18, 2009

Tacoma Museum of Glass/ Martin Blank's "Fluent Steps"

This evening, my friend Lisa and I had the privilege of attending a cocktail reception at the Tacoma Museum of Glass to celebrate the unveiling of Martin Blank's "Fluent Steps," a permanent exhibition in the main reflecting pool. I received the invitation because I do payroll for Martin Blank's employees.

There was a nice turnout for the event, and we got to peek at some of the exhibitions and browse the gift shop. Drinks were flowing (they had a martini bar where they poured the drinks through an ice sculpture, as well as a regular bar), hors d'oeurves were being passed around. There wasn't much going on the first hour except for mixing and mingling. Lisa and I didn't really mix and mingle with anyone (other than saying hello to Debra, Martin Blank's office manager, who invited me to the event), but we looked around and did some people watching.

Around 6:15 or so, everyone was ushered into the theater, where Martin Blank gave a presentation on the conception and implementation of "Fluent Steps." It was fascinating and hilarious. He's not just an artist, but a really funny guy. And he got very emotional at the end of his speech. This exhibition is a huge, HUGE deal for him. As he told us, today was one of the most important days in his life. He got a standing ovation at the end of his speech.

Afterwards was the ribbon cutting ceremony and a champagne toast. It was dusk at the time, but the display was supposed to be very pretty at night. So we headed to a restaurant right next to the museum - Woody's on the Water. We didn't have much in the way of appetizers at the reception, so I ordered an appetizer at the bar and we just enjoyed some conversation until it got dark. We could see "Fluent Steps" from the restaurant and when it was lit up, I paid the bill and we left so I could get pictures.

Just a note on the restaurant: I liked it very much. It's in an excellent location. The food is priced right. And they had live music this evening, supposedly jazz, although it was just some guy playing a keyboard. Not very interesting, but overall, I really liked the restaurant.

It was a very nice evening. Probably the first and only time I'll ever get invited to an event like this, but I really enjoyed it, and so did Lisa.


Museum of Glass website
Woody's On The Water
Martin Blank Studios

Pictures here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Lance and I both took a vacation day today (a much needed mental health break for both of us), dropped the dog off at Petsmart, and headed up north to Skagit County for the annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, which runs through the entire month of April. We're halfway through April, of course, but the tulips are being somewhat elusive. We lucked out today though and saw some of them in bloom.

We started out with a visit to La Conner, an absolutely enchanting town...I am ridiculously besotted with it. I kept going on and on about how wonderful it would be to own a bed and breakfast there. Everything about it was picture postcard quaint. We stopped into Nasty Jack's Antiques, which was a really awesome shop full of kitschy, quirky, and really unique and beautiful items. We stopped in other charming shops: Next Chapter bookstore, The Ginger Grater/The Olive Shoppe, Cascade Candy Company, etc. You can easily spend a day shopping and eating your way through La Conner, and there are some museums as well.

But we were there to see tulips too, so we left La Conner and drove toward nearby Mt. Vernon, stopping at Tulip Town, which is one of the two major tulip farms in the area (the other is Roozengaarde). You have to pay admission to both of these places, and it didn't seem to me that they were different enough from each other to be worth going to both.

I was told that the tulips would not be blooming, since I had a friend who was just there a few days ago and only found daffodils. So it was with great delight that we discovered the some of the tulips were blooming today. So pretty! I imagine that it will be so lovely in a week or so...everything should be blooming by then.

Anyway, we walked around Tulip Town for an hour or so. And since we were basically just flying by the seat of our pants anyway, we thought we might as well visit Mount Vernon.

The drive to Mount Vernon was pretty. Lots of beautiful old homes, the Cascade Mountains, farm fields as far as the eye can see. We got to Mount Vernon, and...well, a bit of a let-down. I didn't see anything worth stopping for, but I did see something on the map that caught my eye - Little Mountain Park. So we plugged it into the GPS and we were off. It was just outside Mount Vernon and definitely worth a stop, as it offered spectacular views from on high of the Skagit Valley, Mount Baker, the Olympic mountains, and the San Juan Islands.

After that brief detour, we headed back to the Seattle area.

All in all, a wonderful day. A lot of fun. I definitely would like to go back next year, but I'll wait until all the tulips are blooming first.

Click here for pictures. (Taken with my new camera!)

Oh, and there's a picture of "Dirty Biter" in my album...if you want to know the story behind him, you can go to this website:

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A Glorious Day at Alki Beach

Today is a sunny, fantastic spring day, so I took Reece up to west Seattle, to the very popular Alki Beach area. My friend Lisa met us there.

Once we got to the Alki Beach trail, and Reece saw all the people and dogs out and about, she got ridiculously excited and started crying and jumping up and down in the back seat. But I had to look for parking, and most importantly, I had to find Alki Bakery, which was our designated meeting place. I found a primo parking spot (someone was backing out just as I was approaching the spot). Reece and I got out and started walking. As we approached the bakery, I saw a mini Statue of Liberty across the street.

Anyway, Alki Beach offers some of the best views of the Seattle skyline... well as gorgeous views of the Olympic Mountains. And if you walk to the end of the beach where the lighthouse is (which is off limits to the public and there were no good vantage points to photograph it), you can even see Mount Rainier.

(I am so insanely jealous of the lucky people who get to live here, except they get to put up with the crowds and the lack of parking.)

Also, we stopped at Spud Fish & Chips, which is an Alki landmark (been around for over 70 years). Mmmmmmm...grease. It's very popular, and was crowded today. But while I was inside getting my fries and Diet Coke, Lisa was outside with Reece, and she found us a table. Then she went in to get her food and the people just kept coming.

Today made me ridiculously happy. A stellar afternoon. And now Reece is exhausted. She met a lot of people (and their dogs) a lot of attention. Sniffed a lot of butts. But she was so good today. I got compliments on how well behaved she was.