The fog settled in like a thick blanket over Seattle as four women, some meeting for the first time, headed into the city. It would prove to be a night of good food, good laughs, and slightly invisible fireworks.
My former college roommate, Lara, was visiting from Connecticut, but she’d insist that she lives in New York. Her friend, Clara, flew in from San Diego. And the “Sassy Italian” as we’ll call her, from the Bothell area.
Have the address of the restaurant- check. GPS- check. Assertive “Sassy Italian” sitting up front so she can bark to get parking- check. King 5 News anticipated that there would be 15,000 people near the Seattle Center for the fireworks show so we’d resort to any measures for a parking spot, including barking like a dog.
Look! There’s Luke Skywalker in an orange vest directing us down a dimly lit, back alley with his lighted sword. We pulled over to ask him how much. It was $15.00! What?! That’s how much it was for a legitimate, very well lit, parking lot. If we’re going to risk our lives in an alley, we’d have to do it for much less. “Ruff, ruff, ruff,” Sassy Italian showed her discontent. Lara was laughing so hard, she started hitting the car horn with her head. Honk– bark, honk– bark.
We found parking, in a well-lit area, and made it to the restaurant- Racha Thai and Asian Kitchen. We shared stories over a feast of curry, pad thai, spring rolls, and savory soups. I was telling them about a conversation with my niece, who was six years old. While I was brushing her hair, she said, “Auntie Chrissy, when I grow up, I don’t want to have kids.”
“Oh, really, why is that?” I asked.
“Because I don’t want to have a scar on my stomach.”
“Well, that’s how your mom had you. If someone has a baby the natural way, it doesn’t come out of their stomach.”
“Where does it come out of?” she promptly asked.
Hit palm to forehead. I walked into that one. I haven’t received a call from my sister so I don’t think I traumatized her.
Sassy Italian joined in with a story about her seven year old daughter, who was trying on a pair of tight skinny jeans.
“Mommy, mommy, help get these off of me,” she said as she squirmed around.
“Why, what’s the matter?” asked Sassy Italian.
The daughter answered back, “It’s choking my vagina!”
Ahh, kids, they will keep you on your toes. I’m sure you can relate with a similar, surprising- and yes, for most of us- shocking story. They’re not supposed to know these things until they’re eighteen, right?
After a scrumptious dinner, we made our way over to the Seattle Center for the fireworks show. We started wondering if we should be worried that a family of skunks moved into the neighborhood. Our out-of-town guest soon learned about Washington’s recent legalization of marijuana. It’s not supposed to be in public areas, but good luck enforcing that. Instead of being “pot heads” we affectionately called them “skunk heads.” Let’s see if the name catches on.
The Seattle Center is so festive around the holidays. Many enjoy the Nutcracker at McCaw Hall or ice skating on the outdoor rink that magically appears for winter.
The Seattle Center’s history started with a futuristic theme for the World’s Fair. In 1952, the Soviet Union launched a two foot diameter sphere into space. You might remember that little piece of history – called Sputnik, the world’s first space satellite. This historic event inspired the 21st Century theme and later added “America’s Space Age World’s Fair” to the name.
The World’s Fair opened on April 21st, 1962 and came to an end in October of the same year. It changed the landscape of Seattle forever with the innovative monorail and Space Needle. Attendance surpassed two million people. A special celebrity sneaked onto the Space Needle through the freight elevator to shoot a film- none other than the curled-lip cutie- Elvis Presley.
The tradition of the New Year’s Eve fireworks at the Space Needle started in 1992 and has been going on ever since. Now, back to the present, my camera was set up and I was anxious to take pictures. Would I get any? The fog was so thick.
A burst of fireworks started at the base of the Space Needle and moved its way up. People started counting and finally: 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . Happy New Year! Sparks flew down from the rim of the Space Needle. For a moment it looked as though a space ship was trying to take off. I half expected to see Men in Black with flashing memory-erasing lights walking through the crowd.
I was frantically taking pictures. I experimented with a new filter that made it darker so I was playing with the timing and exposure. And I had my new cable release that made it so much easier. But where did the Space Needle go? Did it actually launch into space? The Space Needle and fireworks seemed nearly invisible behind the fog and smoke. I was happy that a few shots turned out and the fog gave it an air of mystery.
Wondering how I got these shots? It’s easier than you might think. Check out my awesome tips for taking pictures of fireworks.