When I look up, part 2



Last week I posted a photo of a majestic old brick building, the Seattle Tower. This week I was downtown on a different street when I saw a sleek modern building, which instantly made me think of the contrast between the two buildings. What was the designer of this modern building thinking?  It is decades younger than the Seattle Tower in the next block.  It is smooth and flat and it almost slinks by you as it stands by the sidewalk, keeping a silent watch over cars and traffic and pedestrians. It almost eludes notice. Perhaps that is its beauty, that the eye slides over it without pausing.  It’s not a building that stops the gaze, the pebbly-rough deep-of-the-earth, carved out of clay and stone Seattle Tower in the next block.

I confess, I don’t know the name of this building.  I like the aqua outline of the street-level windows and that interesting metal-like artistic frieze at the top of those windows. Let’s look at these two buildings side by side, the new building on the left, the old building on the right:


Hmmm, they look somewhat alike, don’t they?  It’s the periodicity of the windows, I think.  Up close they are very different, but from a distance, the row-and-column grid of the windows on the front of each building give them a certain similarity.  Like siblings!

Still, the older brick building has a certain mystery to it, a building that looks like it holds secrets and keeps secrets, like it might have hidden passageways and secret chambers and little built-in bookshelves and coat closets and secretary desks and mailslots.  The romantic in me would love to work – or live? – in a building with all those hidden and secret aspects to it.  Would you?

Thanks for visiting!

In which Theresa reflects on what can happen when you look up

Photo by Theresa Barker.

Every week I walk past this majestic old building in downtown Seattle.  When I look up, I feel a sense of grandeur from the seasoned old bricks that make up its skin, from the layers and columns forming its shape, and from the multitude of narrow bright windows that nestle in the crevices of its vertical creases like small eyes looking out at the world.  I wonder who made this building, who designed its sleek-yet-antiquated lines, who paid the money to have this regal edifice put up in the middle of downtown Seattle?  It sits on a steep hill, like much of downtown, and it looks out upon a glorious view of Elliott Bay, the ferries steaming to and fro, sailboats and cargo ships and working-class tugboats plying the surface of waters populated with giant octopuses, salmon and small sharks, starfish, mussels and barnacles beneath the surface.  What has it seen in its 80- or 100-year history?  Who inhabits its offices?  Does it sense the humans that come and go inside its tallness?  I think the trees in front, with their small pale-green leaves, are playing, frolicking gleefully in front of the sturdy, stalwart edifice that sits behind them.  What do you think?

Here is another view, what you see from the street if you don’t look up!

Photo by Theresa Barker.

What building is this?  Did you guess?  Its name is the Seattle Tower.  (I Googled it just now, and that’s how I found out.)  Also known as the Northern Life Tower.  Here is an excerpt from the Wikipedia article on it.  Isn’t Google search amazing.

The Seattle Tower, originally known as the Northern Life Tower, is a 27-story skyscraper in downtown Seattle, Washington. The building is located on 1218 Third Avenue and is known as Seattle’s first art-deco tower. Its distinctive, ziggurat exterior is clad in 33 shades of brick designed to effect a gradient which lightens from the bottom to the top of the building. This is said to have been inspired by local rock formations. (from Wikipedia)

What have you noticed lately?  Do you walk by something every day and never quite look up to see what it is?  Thanks for visiting!

Here is my pumpkin photo!



. . . and a couple more photos . . .!  We put little switch-on battery-powered flickering lights inside the pumpkins instead of candles.  I can highly recommend it!

. . . And now, I’m going to sneak in some photos from some recent travel! – We were on the Monterey Peninsula in California for a family gathering.  On Sunday we took a drive and stopped for brunch along 17-Mile Drive.  It was stormy on the water!  (Huge crashing waves – so fun!)

Happy Halloween!

Baby fists

Brief intro:  many of you know I lost my oldest son to cancer in 2014.  I’m still working through my grief about losing him; he died at OHSU in Portland, Oregon, one week before his 31st birthday.  Recently I sketched a baby fist and it led me to this memory of my son’s life.  When I write about him, I feel his memory lives on, and that, in some way, his life is being shared among even more people.  Thank you for reading.


Sketch by Theresa Barker.

You may not believe this, but I can still remember the tiny closed fist of your baby hand, skinny fingers, against the cheek of your newborn face.  Is it thirty-four and some fraction of years since I saw you first, my own son? And still the memory of little fist and cheek sticks to the inside of my brain.  How oblivious you looked then, only intent on getting a few more hours’ sleep while it was possible, to catch up on those five last weeks of being in the womb that you missed out on by coming early.

Never let it be said you did not fight for life.  For now, for now, for now, I hold onto that little fist-on-cheek memory of when you were mine to protect and love.  And, love you, I still.

Seven black-and-white pen-and-inks, Day 7

Sketch by Theresa Barker.

Finally!  We have come to Day 7 of black-and-white sketches!  Today:  Coffee.

I experimented with shading in this sketch, and wrote a little fiction story to go with it.  Just to let you know, things have been hectic the past few days in my non-blog life, and when I wrote this the ending came out rather absurd.  I guess I needed something absurd to feel less overwhelmed.  Just sayin’!

Thanks for joining me on this journey.  A big thanks for your thoughts and comments – they are wonderful.


DAY 7. Coffee.  [FICTION]  The wild steam made the café seem more exciting than it was.  When she met Lionel there for their first date, she felt this was the start of something really special.  On that first date she loved his plaid shirt and jeans, it was so retro.  He had a beard that made him look mysteriously appealing.  Like a young Johnny Depp, before he got into all that tax trouble.  Ginny wondered why Lionel was still available; he was such a nice guy, and not bad-looking.  Yes, he was quiet, but that seemed a relief after the blabbermouth men she’d been dating for the past couple of years.  On the second date, though, the wild steam of the espresso machine just made it hard to hear, not exciting, and Lionel was wearing a ratty T-shirt with an unknown band name on the front.   “Girls really dig this look,” he told her as he sat down.  Ginny thought it made him look like a loser.  She excused herself after half an hour.  “Mom,” she told her mother on the way home, “he wasn’t worth it.”  When her mother said, “I know.  You should go back to Ron (her ex),” Ginny threw her cell phone out the window and laughed.  She needed a new cell phone anyway.

Thanks for visiting!


DAY 1 here.   DAY 2.  DAY 3. DAY 4. DAY 5. DAY 6.