LAST SATURDAY, MY WIFE AND I CELEBRATED our wedding anniversary. I won't tell you exactly how many years it has been since we tied the knot, but I will tell you that it's a lot, especially considering that the last time I heard, the statistic is holding steady at about 50% of marriages that are still failing. Given that, I feel pretty darn good about our chances this far down the road.
If you were to ask me, I couldn't really give you any valuable advice on the longevity of relationships . . . except for perhaps this: When you feel like the chips are down and you are at the end of your proverbial rope with seemingly nowhere to turn and nothing left to do, find a way to get through the crisis and make it work. Believe me, you'll actually feel good about yourself when you have given it your best shot, and many times things only improve afterwards. So far, I haven't heard anybody complain that "make up" sex was ever lousy, know what I mean?
I have a younger family member that has tried marriage -- and given up on it -- three times already, and to hear the insipid, superficial, selfish reasons disguised as "game breakers", honestly I don't know whether to laugh or to cry.
That brings me to one more tidbit of advice, now that I think about it: Don't make up your mind (or what's left of it at the time) until you've heard someone else's viewpoint, preferably from either a non-emotionally attached friend or family member, or better yet, a professional counselor.
So, it turned out to be a sunny -- and just a little bit chilly -- Saturday here. We headed out over the 520 toll bridge (for decades it was free) to Seattle and the renown Pike Place Market, where the main attraction is the fish vendor tossing 10 lb. whole King Salmon to the poor, unsuspecting tourists hoping for a photo op and having no idea how unwieldy ... and slimy a dead fish can be. You can also have fun here if you are a people watcher, as, invariably by noontime, the place is elbow-to-elbow with 'em. With masses of tourists and locals alike, we usually reserve this delightful encounter with humanity for excursions with out-of-town guests and first-time visitors.
You might be wondering by now if there are going to be any monsters mentioned in today's slice 'o life. Funny you should ask, for in the nether chambers of the market known as "Down Under" we came across a shop that caught my usual discerning eye and impeccable taste for the finer things in life. Called "Orange Dracula", it's billed as "the dime store for those with unusual tastes". The melange of kitsch includes a Francis Ford Coppola Dracula pinball machine, a fortune teller vending machine, and a working photo booth. Predominant in the store are monster-related items like models, pins, buttons, patches and other paraphernalia. In the window there is an original 6-foot Frankenstein poster from the Captain Company days. The proprietor is an amiable and talkative fellow and is more than willing to share his interests in monsters with the clientele. Orange Dracula has a website HERE. If you find yourself at the world-famous Pike Place Market, I recommend you find time to stop in at Orange Dracula.
We escaped the multitudes of the market and headed down to the pier, spending the next hour or so at the Seattle Aquarium. There are some really astonishing live exhibits here, including otters, harbor seals, and octopi. Plus, there's anemones, starfish (nay, sea stars), coral and other marine life that look they came right out of an H.P. Lovecraft story.
|Your roving Monsterologist, ready for chowder.|
|The Puget Sound, dark and deep.|
|Looking back east from the water, towards downtown Seattle.|
|A very big boardwalk to enjoy the view from.|
|Somebody always has to feed the gulls.|
|Anemones from Yuggoth ... er, the Seattle Aquarium.|
|A bed of sea stars, a.k.a. starfish.|
|A strange-looking salt water plant.|
|Alien landscape? No, aquarium fish tank!|
|Our view from the restaurant.|
|It really was this pink.|
|Dusk settles on the carousel. Note the quarter moon top right.|