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explored places

Shangri La


Two weeks ago while in Honolulu, I could not miss the chance to visit Doris Duke’s fabled Shangri La, once the heiress and philanthropist’s Hawaiian home, now a magnificent setting for her collection of Islamic art and culture.

The shuttle from the Honolulu Art Museum to Shangri La descends through the jungle from a street in Honolulu’s prestigious Kahala neighborhood. Sited on five private acres overlooking Diamond Head and the Pacific ocean, Shangri La is a magical place.IMG_1288




Doris Duke, ‘the richest girl in the world,” bought the Honolulu property in 1936 for $100,000. She loved the relaxed island culture, and she was a sporty gal; she enjoyed hiking, sailing, canoeing, fishing, surfing. In Hawaii she was able to escape the intense scrutiny of the press, and here she could fully devote herself to her lifelong love of Islamic culture, art, and architecture.

Tours of the property are limited to three times a day, four days a week, Wednesday through Saturday, and they often sell out, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead if you hope to see it. Also, they don’t allow interior photos to be taken of the 14,000 square foot home, but check out this Pinterest board for some inside views.

I love visiting the homes of the rich and famous. It’s my job, and I embrace it, even on vacation.



explored places strictly personal

Happy May Day?


When I was in elementary school, I once made a May Day basket for my grandmother, filled it with flowers and candy that I left on her doorstep, rang her bell and ran away. It wasn’t so long ago that I only knew of May Day as having this flower basket tradition, also featuring dancing around a maypole with ribbons, a rite of spring.

These days, in Seattle, we celebrate May Day a little more dramatically.


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As you can see, Seattle’s May Day march protested all sorts of things. Mostly, it was peaceful, in large part because the Seattle police department kept a huge, calm presence and a close watch everywhere the protesters marched, even as they marched around downtown and Capitol Hill somewhat aimlessly until 10 o’clock tonight. Currently, as we approach midnight, the remaining protesters are staging a standoff with police up on Broadway on Capitol Hill. I have been hearing helicopters constantly. I hope it doesn’t end badly.

I was earlier this week in Honolulu where May 1st is Lei Day, another celebration of spring. Lei Day. I love this. I also really love Hawaii.




It wasn’t too hard coming back home to Seattle, though, since we are having a fantastic heat wave here; 85 degrees today, a sun-filled record-breaker.

Finally, this particular May 1st is the twenty-five year anniversary of the day I arrived in Seattle to live. Twenty-five years ago my husband and I were in our twenties, our first son had just turned one, and we were beginning what would be a marvelous adventure together in our new city.

Happy May Day, citizens of the world.