A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Questions

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I posted this picture over the weekend, and I realized the power of visual images to spark conversation. Mari’s husband asked me why I had posted it, and after I clarified that it was Potamus (and not somehow a picture of me), I was struck with the thought that I often put things out into the world (writing, photos, words) that have a definite meaning to me, but may be misinterpreted or misunderstood by others. Or maybe there’s room for both my interpretation and someone else’s experience of my image to both be true and right at the same time.

It made me think of poetry, and how I loved the college classes where I had to buckle down and analyze a few lines of poetry, trying to figure out the word choice and how it intersected with history and the author’s life. And yet, when I write my own poetry, I am hardly so careful as to make sure I choose the word eggshell vs. white in describing that lady’s shirt. Though sometimes I am that careful, but how does the reader/listener know my intention fully when they bring their own thougths, life experience, emotions to the table?

The conversation about my child’s image, which I had taken in a moment of pure love, noticing that tiny little mole that dotted his neck (in contrast to the many moles that are all over Boof), my mind wandered to the thought that this is how I one day could identify his body if he were to die tragically. Maybe it was morbid, or practical, we argued a bit about it, but the exchange clearly showed different perspectives, neither right or wrong. I looked at that “morbid” detail of identifying a body by a little birthmark from a future-nostalgic motherhood place, the remembrance of his less-baby-more-little-man stillness as he sat on my lap in the sunshine watching TV and I stroked his little curls that look like mine did at that age. I don’t know what prompted him to comment on this particular picture (of the thousands I’ve posted), but I’m glad he did, because the dialogue and thought process made me take a tiny moment and examine it in light of all the things I do online (or in person, too).

It makes me wonder about every picture I post or text and the story that’s being told on the receiving end, or the intercepting end, or when you turn to your neighbor and say “hey look at this.” Maybe it’s my arrogance, or self absorbed way of living, but I often think that the way I intend a picture to be interpreted will be how it’s interpreted. But like the lines of poetry that I analyzed in college, we bring our own biases toward it, and meaning may be lost or changed or questioned, and it’s really a neat process if you think about it.

After college I took a communication class that detailed how miscommunications can form, and as she diagrammed Speaker A putting words into the universe, and Speaker/Listener B hearing and interpreting the word, it struck me that it’s really a miracle any of us can communicate effectively. Even recently in conversations with Boof, I said a word, that to me has a ‘standard definition,’ and we clearly were talking about different things, from different perspectives based on our gender, age, life experience, etc. It’s a really remarkable process to sit and sift and be vulnerable to get to the point where understanding occured.

That one image sparked a thousand words, a thousand questions. I might have posted it and forgotten about it, like I’ve done with the thousands of other images. But the dialogue brought me back, and almost like a meditation drishti point, I will think of that moment I thought how beautiful my child was, and how sad I would be to have to identify his body by that tiny little mole.

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MOHAI (Museum of History and Industry)

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The day after Christmas we headed out to MOHAI with Boof’s family. It’s an old Naval building on South Lake Union, and it is full of interesting Seattle artifacts and history. Now, normally I am not one to get really interested in museums, they have to be done really well for me to even want to bother taking a look at them. And I was surprised at how neat this museum was! Maybe in a year or two I’ll take Potamus there!

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What I really liked was all of the iconic Seattle displays, like the Rainier Brewery sign, and the airplane hanging from the ceiling. While some people like reading all of the little signs, I am much more inclined to get a general overall sense of the history in the Big Picture sense. So I flew through most of the museum in a little over an hour, and could see myself going back to get a more in depth view of all the little interesting tidbits I might have missed the first time.

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iconic Seattle sports memorabilia

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A place where we were asked “what would make Seattle better?”

My favorite part of the whole museum was an art gallery decorated with pen and ink sketches that had been watercolored over. I thought that this type of art was both beautiful and would make a really amazing mural in someone’s house. Wouldn’t a little painted scene like that look so cool on a kid’s room? Or in a kitchen somewhere? I could have spent an entire hour in that gallery. There was a little section that provided sketchbooks for you to draw a bit of some urban scenery out the windows. I love clever ideas to get patrons involved in the art experience!

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Bye bye kingdome!

So, if you’re in Seattle, as a resident or a visitor, and have a few hours to spare, I definitely recommend checking this museum out! Not only will you get a better sense of where the city has come from, you’ll experience it in a visually stunning way!

Date Night? Screw That! Let’s have a date day!

Taking advantage of the fact that a) Boof hasn’t started work yet (9 more days, folks!), b) we’d already paid up for the week on daycare and let’s not ruin Potamus’ excellent attendance record (7 days to be exact AND let’s not ruin his getting used to the schedule) and c) it’s a holiday for us education/government folk, we headed off into the great foggy gray city of Seattle for a fun-filled date day.

Per usual, our date was planned around food, the doughnut shop in Pike Place Market and a groupon at this divey bar for lunch. We arrived at the market BEFORE there was anyone around, which is a first, and we got to see our city through the eyes of a tourist…but, like a backstage tourist at Disneyland where you get to see Mickey without his head on and where they fold the sheets. Because the flowers and produce were set up, but none of the other vendors. BONUS was getting coffee in the firstĀ  Starbucks..there was NO line. None. Zip. Zero. Nobody else in the store except us. Which has never happened (hence why I’ve never been in there in the, ahem, 30 years I’ve been alive…also, nobody gives coffee to a baby, so maybe there wasn’t a line when I was a kid, but I don’t remember…).

We walked, and talked, and took photos with my sweet new cell phone camera. Wet met up for lunch with an old co-worker(twice) and friend. And to top of the excellent day, was going to pick Potamus up at daycare/school, only to find him HAPPILY playing and he crawled over with a HUGE smile on his face, instead of his normal I’m-so-happy-I’m-going-to-cry-because-you-might-leave-again face that he normally gives me when I get there. Heartwarming.

Though, I’m pretty plumb tuckered out, and there’s still a few hours left until I get to sleep!

PIke Place Market

Monk-Monk in front of market sign

date day!

The First

First Starbucks trip!

A little snack, perhaps?

they painted the trees blue

inside the market

foggy Seattle day