Friday, July 29, 2011


A week ago we returned from vacation in a city in the very center of Mexico. Guanajuato gained incredible riches and was the scene of almost irredeemable cruelty in the pursuit of silver 400 years ago, cradled the bloody beginning of the revolt against Spanish rule, was a beneficiary of Porfirio Diaz's excess, and then languished for the next three generations.

In the past thirty or forty years, the city rebuilt itself as global repository of appreciation for the Spanish author Cervantes and his greatest creations, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. It became a summer tourist magnet for middle class Mexicans, making the most of its UNESCO designation as world heritage site, its enterprising University students, and its old, quirky, and picturesque cityscape.

We went there for 8 days with the idea of a possible move when we retire next year, checking the place against our imagination of what we wanted it to be. The jury is still out, but, with me at least, it lost its idealized shine. We realize that a smaller, friendlier place would suit us better.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


My two daughters and I have made it a Fourth of July tradition to join tens of thousands of other revelers at Gasworks Park to witness, against a backdrop of the city's downtown towers, the incredible fireworks show over Lake Union .

We went again this year.

Hours spent sitting on a small blanket next to hundreds of good-natured, though occasionally raucous, neighbors, suffering severe sneezing attacks from the over-abundant allergens, remembering what a blessing it has been to not be downwind of smokers, enduring a never-ending stream of bumbling, stumbling late comers looking for their square yard of earth...this, and the good company, is what made it all worth the wait: