Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Child's Play

A very dear friend of ours works for the Seattle Times and always seems to know what's happening around town. This evening she invited Dominic and I to attend Giant Magnet at the Seattle Center.

I had seen the sign promoting this event weeks ago and asked Dominic if we could check it out. "Maybe it's like those large Velcro walls," we thought. "Or maybe it's like that ball you put your hand on in the science museum and your hair stands up straight." Both guesses were quite incorrect.

The Giant Magnet is actually an international variety show of theatre, music, dance, puppetry and circus arts. According to the program, "Like a Giant Magnet this festival attracts people of all ages and backgrounds to its global attractions - authentic international performances that promise to astonish, delight and entertain." What a nice analogy.

Giant Magnet is actually a wonderful non-profit organization that offers year-round education programs to children in Seattle's schools. It's a creative way to address the gap in arts education and deepen cultural understanding for entire communities. Naturally we are all for it.

This evening was opening night so three artist groups gave us a foretaste of the week-long events that will be held tomorrow through Saturday:
  • Jamie Adkins a one-man circus comedy from Quebec Canada: this Cirque du Soleil veteran impressed us with his amazing balancing and juggling skills, funny facial expressions and genuine sense of humor.
  • Gansango, dancers from Senegal: Inspired me to take a dance class. Their amazing footwork and passionate drumming was energizing (especially after a long, long day of work). I'm thinking I'll start learning how to dance by taking zumba at the gym... it's probably not even close to the aerobic exercise this troupe was getting.
  • Black Violin from the U.S.: These talented violinists combined their instrument with contemporary hip-hop beats. Showing us how they could put their 'stank' on Bach. Check them out. Pretty cool.
I'd be lying a little bit if I didn't say I was also won over by the free food and drinks provided by Ten Mercer after the show. There's something about not being in catering anymore that makes me appreciate the reception that much more.

Thanks for a great Tuesday night in town Giant Magnet!

Monday, May 10, 2010

San Juan Island

We've been trying to take more advantage of the wonderful things on offer here in the northwest lately. With spring finally peaking through, we decided to take a camping trip up to the San Juan Islands in the very northwest corner of these great contiguous United States. As I (Dominic) was in charge of hastily arranging this excursion, it was so great to arrive at our campsite and find that it was the most beautiful place I have ever had the pleasure of camping (evidence below).

The site looked out on the Haro straight. This stretch of water not only separates the US from Vancouver Island in Canada (see previous Victoria/Valentines day post), but it also is a common migration stretch for Orca whales. We had a chance to explore the coast of the island which led us to a beautiful lighthouse and a lime kiln.

Mostly though we just relaxed and looked at the wildlife from our campsite. We ended up seeing many seals, a bald eagle, porpoise and orcas! It was really great and relaxing.

Our timing couldn't have been better. There wasn't a cloud in the sky the whole weekend and as the tourist season hasn't quite gotten underway, the ferries were not too crowded. Just the ride up there; winding between islands on a sunny day was phenomenal.

Good times in the Pacific Northwest.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

National Day of Prayer

At Capital I assumed it was a strange maze, in Seattle I simply overlooked it. It wasn't until I went to Bethany's Day of Prayer during lent that someone spoke of a labyrinth's use for insight, peace and renewal. The Labyrinth is an ancient symbol and tool for prayer and meditation. I've lived with labyrinths in my neighborhood for years, but had never tried praying in one... until today.

I figured on this day, National Day of Prayer, it was worth a chance. After all, St. Paul's Episcopal Church has one just minutes from our apartment. This particular labyrinth was modeled after the medieval labyrinth in Chartres Garden, France. It is the first publicly-accessible permanent outdoor labyrinth within Seattle city limits.

The church provided these 'instructions':

  • Entering the labyrinth: A time to release and let go of distraction, perhaps focusing on a special intention or prayer for the walk.
  • Reaching the center: A time for openness to the diving Spirit, allowing guidance and inspiration.
  • Going back: A time to retrace steps and return to the world, embracing the Spirit that heals and transforms. With each repetition of the walk, you are being strengthened for growth and change.
Each one of these points sounded nice to me. From a time to release, to guidance and inspiration, to healing. I was ready for the experience.

I should note that St. Paul's is not located on the corner of a quiet intersection and I was praying in the middle of rush hour. Nonetheless, the meditation of weaving in and out of the path, turning and retracing my steps did help me to focus.

When I reached the center I began to hum the lyrics to a popular worship song we used to sing at Fellowship for Christian Athletes at Thomas: "God, you are my God, and I will ever praise you. I will follow you all of my days, I will follow you all of my days. And step by step you lead me and I will follow you all of my days." What a gift!

Have you ever prayed in a labyrinth?

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Kentucky Derby Bets

And now... for one Chipotle Burrito....

Drum roll please... This is for you Aunt Rad:

Sarah's Picks:
  1. Noble's Promise
  2. Ice Box
  3. Patty O'Predo
  4. Jackson Bend
  5. Conveyance
Dominic's Picks:
  1. Line of David
  2. Homeboykhris
  3. Lookin' at Lucky
  4. Devil May Care
  5. American Lion
Here we go!

Happy May Day

"Sweet May hath come to love us,

Flowers, trees, their blossoms don;

And through the blue heavens above us

The very clouds move on." - Heinrich Heine, Book of Songs


Happy May Day to one and all!

Dominic had never heard of a May Day basket, so last night I explained the joy of surprising friends and loved ones with a little treat on the first of May. I don't quite remember what we used to put in our baskets, but I do remember the thrill and joy of dropping the basket on the porches in Iowa and sprinting away before the door would swing open.

I decided to do some research on the tradition this morning and found this description:

Baskets, usually made by children, are often homemade and filled with flowers or treats. They are left anonymously at someone's doorstep or hooked over the handle or knob.

The basket giver rings the bell and runs away. The person receiving the basket tries to catch the fleeing giver. If caught, tradition said a kiss was to be exchanged.

I made this May Day basket full of Canadian tulips, chocolates and Alki Beach cinnamon rolls for our dear friends in Queen Anne today. Hopefully they heard my knock...