Blue Skies in Seattle

The bluest skies are not in Seattle — it takes a lack of humidity to create the deep blue skies I often see in the western slope of Colorado and the high desert of California — but after the first rainy day, Seattle showed me its best (and bluest) side.

And my little sister — who towers over me — showed me her best side. (Well, that’s not true. All her sides are her best sides.)


Not only did I get to see the bright side of Seattle, I got to see the dark side.


Also the artistic side, both nature made


and human made.


It tickled me to see so many California poppies. I didn’t see a single poppy in California as I drove through on my way to the Pacific Northwest. The poppy people say it’s because of the lack of rain, but I bet it’s more the flowers envied the birds their ability to migrate and decided to emulate them.


The joy of this trip is not just about the outside, but also the inside — staying with my sister is like living in a gourmet restaurant. Since my brother-in-law is a trained chef, every meal is been exquisite. From lamb shanks and watermelon/feta salad to frittatas with a side of lime-splashed mango,


from linguine with seafood marinara sauce to a fabulous mother’s day brunch buffet, my taste buds have been feted. (That’s a private joke just for me, because I don’t think I’ve ever before feta cheese, or at least not so much.)


For the first time I can understand why people think there is nothing in the high desert — for them, there is nothing. It’s pretty much a gourmet food wasteland, at least compared to a metropolis like Seattle. Except for some of the fruit, none of the food presented at the Mother’s Day brunch would be available in the high desert. In fact, despite the ever-growing population, Trader Joe’s refuses to put a store in any of the desert towns because there aren’t enough people with masters degrees. It doesn’t matter to me — my tastes are parochial. Grocery store cheddar cheese suits me fine, and I don’t need high-priced out of season fruits.

But today (and yesterday and probably even tomorrow!) I get to live the life of a well-cultured being, as if I were a kissed frog that turned into a princess.



(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Unfinished, Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)

My Star-Studded Weekend

I had a phenomenal time in Seattle this weekend. And such gorgeous weather! (I don’t know whether the bluest skies are in Seattle, but they sure were blue when I was there.)


Today I woke feeling like Cinderella after the ball. What? No more champagne? No more limousine? No more Shen Yun? No more ferris wheels and fish feasts? Ah, but I have something Cinderella never had . . . photos!!

It truly was a star-studded weekend.


And the star was . . . me! Here I am decked out in sparkles and party eyes, ready to go to Shen Yun.

But wait! I have to tell you about the first day. My sister and brother-in-law met me right outside the secure area at the airport, then took me to a restaurant on the Puget Sound waterfront where we feasted on crab, shrimp, mussels, corn, sausage, potatoes, and probably a few other things.

Next, we rode a ferris wheel on the pier . . .

Ferris Wheel

and could see . . . well, not exactly forever, but almost.

puget sound

To keep with the theme of going round and round, we went on a carousel at a nearby arcade.  This was my trusty steed.


Before we left the waterfront, we stopped by Pikes Place Market. It was late, and most vendors had packed up, but the flower sellers were still there. Flowers, flowers, everywhere.


The next day, we had a liesurely breakfast (a strata prepared by a professonal chef — my brother-in-law!) then dressed in our finery and waited for the limo my sister hired to take us to see Shen Yun. Often during this past trying year, I’ve found comfort telling myself that I am where I am supposed to be. This little affirmation takes on a whole new meaning when one is driving around in a limousine drinking champagne!

And Shen Yun, the whole point of this excursion? I was afraid that after that first wonderful day of playing in the sun, the show would be anticlimactic, but it was fantastic. Truly a delight for the eyes and the ears. As the program explained, Shen means “divine” and Yun refers to a dancer’s style and the meaning behind his or her movements, so Shen Yun is about “the grace, compassion, and sublime beauty of heavenly realms that are shown through the subtlest expessions and gestures of the dancers.” Truly an experience.

After the show, we went to a fancy restaurant right on the water. (I had Pacific Northwest Chowder and Dungeness Crab Cakes.)  While enjoying a touch of desert (lemon semifreddo) we watched the sun set on a perfect day.

There were many gifts and blessings arising from this weekend, including a closer connection to my sister (and brother-in-law), a realization that yes, someday I can be happy again, and the crowning glory of the stay — a new chapeau.

Pat Bertram


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+