Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Findings - 10 Things to Scratch From Your Worry List - NYTimes.com

All the things that a typical Seattlelite worries about? Are we just crazy? Wait plastici bags aren't bad for the environment, then why did our City Council vote 6-1 to ban them?

Findings - 10 Things to Scratch From Your Worry List - NYTimes.com

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Seattle Tourist

These past three days I was a tourist in my own city. Recently both N and S wrote about being a tourist in Seattle- what would you suggest to someone coming to explore the city. My friend had lived in Tacoma, so she was somewhat familiar to Seattle, her friend had never been here before and the other visiting from Phoenix had been here a handful of times.

We started off Thursday with a concert at Chateau St. Michelle winery- this winery on its own is beautiful- but adding Chris Isaak, brilliant. I had prepared a picnic of mostly local ingredients- salumi sausages, local cheeses (Mount Townsend, Beachers and a new one at MetMarket), fresh local berries, salmon mouse, crab dip, lavender shortbread and bread from Essential Baking company. Another girl who joined us brought salmon freshly smoked by her father. Unfortunately we drank all 4 bottles of wine then to find out that they had stopped selling wine. After the concert we had passed a dive bar- of course we made a spot- I ordered cans of Rainier for everyone- its the local version of BudLight fresh from the mountain.

Friday we headed to Snoqualamie Falls- yes its a tourist attraction- highlighted by my poor friend throwing up in front of the tourist bus! But it is an incredible view and a way to see nature at its finest. Returning to Ballard we ate lunch at Ray's Cafe- good food and amazing view. Afterwards wandered around the locks- boating and salmon- quinessential Seattle. Then a trip up to Queen Anne- Kerry Park, my favorite spot in the city for reflecting. We were blessed with clear sunny skies to highlight the skyline. Friday night we did Belltown and Pike Place. Started at Cascadia for miniburgers and the Alpine Martini (whats more Northwest than a little douglas fir in your drink!), then onto Flying Fish for a spur of the moment stop for fresh oysters (my first time actually), which turned into crab, calamari, salad and oysters. Finally time for our "dinner" reservation at Matts in the Market. Matt's is not a tourist spot, rather still seems to be the local gem that hasn't been invaded by the masses. Our table was still being used so we were treated to some free wine. A fabulous meal (everyones favorite so far) with a view of the market and the sound that was spectacular. Karen came from the dessert it was that good. I was contemplating a trip to the Lusty Lady, but per our server's advice we checked out the CanCan club below for a burlesque show- perfect. Men, women and some cross-dressers decked out flaunting their stuff, we didn't even need to go to Capital Hill for a bit of the "other" side of Seattle tourists miss.

Saturday we started off with pastries from Cafe Besalu near my house- another hidden gem that most tourists would not know about. Then onto the ultimate tourist activity- the Duck Tour. The brownies I consumed before made it a bit more enjoyable, but I have to say even as a local I had a blast- learned a few facts I did not know. It's a great overall tour of the basic neighborhoods in the downtown area. Plus even the local saw the Sleepless in Seattle houseboat for the 1st time. Afterwards lunch at Aqua Verde- we had planned to kayak but it was a bit chilly. Then onto the Central District for a stop at a friends house- real live gentrification in action in Seattle! Back to Ballard for the Sea Star (H was obsessed with Dangerous Catch!). Dinner in lower QA Phucket- sometime simple and cheap then onto the Torchlight prarade for a bit (H had to see the guy from deadliest catch!- we even chased after him) and then onto the Space Needle for a glass of wine. Being at the Space Needle I remembered why I love this city- its the ultimate tourist experience, however myself I could see all the spots that mean something to me- my gym, Noelle's work/South Lake Union, QA, Alki and the incredible beauty that makes Seattle home. We did a LOT in two days, however there was still more I wanted to show them- we didn't ride the SLUT (tried to buy t-shirts but they were closed), would of been fun to go out in Capitol Hill, the Seattle Art Museum or even better an outside art tour with local galleries and graffiti art, a walk around Greenlake, Skillet, Bainbridge and the 5 Spot (we were supposed to do breakfast but were a bit full from the 3-restaurant dinner the night before).

Yes, Seattle isn't a New York, Chicago or like a European city. People still are too dependent on cars. I observed Friday night that downtown was really dead (maybe everyone was in Capitol Hill), people don't walk nor use transportation (we did a quick jaunt on the #2), but we are changing, making our city more Urban. We are young, but Seattle is a vibrant thriving Seattle with quite a bit to offer.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I know many of you who read this blog are bloggers. I consider myself an amateur blogger- no pictures, special links to websites in my entries, rather simple entries sometimes stream of consciousness. I love blogging, I find it relaxing but I find excuses for not expanding my blog capabilities. I'd like to start a food blog- oh wait I already did, scrumptiousseattle, yet it remains untouched. I eat something and think, god I wish I had an iphone (on a side note I saw a Starbuckian waiting in line at Skillet with a 3G, seriously wanted to go ask if I could see it/touch it) or a better camera. Today I ate my Skillet lunch- israeli couscous with mint, feta, raisins, pistachios, lemons and squash with the tarragon chicken salad... would of been perfect to post, but alas no camera. I want a fantastic header- need to use photo-shop to make it. Excuses.

Why didn't I go for a run yesterday- no good reason, just an excuse. My car isn't clean- why? I am lazy and hate doing it, its the honest answer. In preparation for my out of town guests I have been cleaning like crazy, each time I get out of the car I bring something in or throw it away. Last night when I got undressed instead of draping my dress over the hamper, I hung it up in the closet. I am trying to build little habits that will prevent the clutter that seems to dominate my life.

I find myself constantly checking blogs, I am almost infatuated with the various blogs out there. My friends write intelligent witty and of course poignant essays on various life events with sometimes a bit of honesty that isn't in every day conversation. I keep up on my google reader checking MyBallard, Seattlest and other various local blogs for news and events. I am saddened to report my lack of interacting with a real news paper in my life. Last weekend while volunteering at Beacon Hill Elementary we were lining some areas with wet newspaper, as we were plunging the newspaper in the water, I found myself enthralled with reading the articles, so many interesting articles, things I wanted to read. Yet, like so many things in my life, if I actually took the time to subscribe, the papers would pile up in my apartment with articles I intended to read. How do we find the balance between our technologically enriched world and a bit of reality- the tangible things in life. How do we find that balance? Instead of wasting over an hour on facebook when I "have no time" why didn't I call my dad back, go for a run or clean the bathroom. I posed the question last night to N & K about spending time alone and how we have several friends who seem to balance home time, internet time and social activities much better- they do domestic things (cook, craft projects etc) as well as read, write real letters to friends and still keep a very technologically savy lifestyle. I find as I explore what makes me tick, I am missing balance in my life. When I told M about my day alone, he replied good, I want to hear more things like that. Those of you who make goals happen, you inspire me- Noelle for your carfree month, Jess for your dedication to working out/eating healthy, Karianne- finding the new career headfirst, Michael-completing your first year of Western with almost a perfect gpa and Susanna- doing all that you do- dating, traveling- being happy with you.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

When Something Isn't Right

Lately I've been feeling discontent. I couldn't pinpoint what exactly my discontent was about. Yes there are the job issues, the unknown, but part of me has expected that. M keeps saying I am running from something, by keeping myself too busy. Lauren and I talked about a similar state for a shared friend, running from the unknown. Recently, I've found myself unhappy, slowly I started to return to my trust worthy friend, food. I ate taco bell. Sober. If it sounded good, it went into my mouth. Alison described it perfectly, feeling like a stuffed sausage in its casing. My new slim clothes were feeling tight. I tried to put on my freshly washed skinny jeans, nope, not unless I lied down were they closing. I got pissed. How did I let this happen. 10lbs. From my low weight. Not acceptable.

Friday I had the honor of being a guest at S's cottage. Immediately when I walked in and gave myself the grand tour, I pin-pointed one of the problems. Motel 6. I found myself envisioning what it would be like to live in one of the cottages. Flowers adorning the front yard. I could grow herbs. A real fireplace the centerpiece of the small yet homey living room. I watched as she cooked us a delicious homemade meal, her kitchen filled with recipes and the ingredients for meals. I could envision the same thing. I never said I loved my apartment. Yes, I like my location. Not my home. I am never here. I am ghost in my own surroundings. Love living alone yes, however this apartment is not me. I knew that from the beginning, I could afford it and I was rushed. Now its time to start looking, find something that is me. I've only been here a few months, but the answer is crystal clear. I never cook nor entertain. Tonight as part of my efforts to start eating healthy again, I made a simple green salad with some Uli's chicken sausage. Super easy. As I chopped the garlic for my dressing, I couldn't remember the last time I had done this, months ago. Literally. My favorite knife rests in the drawer collecting dust. Instead I eat sweet potato fries and chicken nuggets. When was the last time I baked, months, I think once. I want to start cooking again. I enjoy cooking. Today as I wandered the Ballard farmers market I thought of all the delicious meals I could make- fresh summer greens, tiny creamy potatoes, glorious summer fruits begging to be turned into a crisp and local free range meats/fish. However I hate cooking for one.

Being alone is something I struggle with. After volunteering on Saturday none of my plans for the weekend turned out. I found myself lying in bed watching Weeds. I was bored. I didn't know what to do with myself. All of this time at home. Sent a few texts, people were busy or didn't want to go out. Realizing this morning that I had the day to myself, it was sunny and beautiful, I needed to exert some inertia. I have company coming in less than a week. The apartment needs cleaning, there is laundry to be done. I started the laundry got dressed and decided to wander around Ballard alone for the afternoon. Bought myself some fresh sweet red raspberries (my absolute favorite), pizza at Veraci, then Stumptown coffee and a mini cupcake at Royale (conscious decisions). Went into a few shops. My phone rang but I didn't answer, this is me time. After hitting 24th I wasn't quite ready to go home, it was still sunny out so I kept going on Market. Weaved my way back home, quietly enjoying the sunny day. I need more days with this. Often the hour alone feels like eternity. Learning to make my days that I have off from the slew of social activities mine is always going to be a challenge. A night home, I forget what that means.

Single. No plus one. We spend some much time and effort looking for the one. I'm thinking about eharmony. It's going to be a process. Why not give online dating a chance again. I'm missing that someone in my life. As I watched couples plan meals picking out bunches of greens, smelling the ripe tomatoes, I yearned to do the same thing. I was relishing my walk alone, but I quietly envisioned my own farmers market story. We'd wake up, have morning sex (I'm not a morning person and I love it), read the NY Times over freshly brewed coffee then finally walk to the farmers market to buy our local ingredients for the week with our re-usable bags then wander home, maybe entertain friends in our 1920's craftsman later that night ending the weekend with a delicious homemade meal and good wine. My snow globe fairy tale with such intricate details. Fast forward a few years, add a baby. I'm ready to nest. My discontent lays deep within. I'm not going back to where I was a year go or even two. As Sherrie says when I put my mind to something I do it. Well its back to the gym/trying running (its nice out why not) and working on my nesting (home & men).

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Another Encouter With Nature

My second weekend in a row of camping. July has been full of outdoor experiences. This one was unplanned, spur of the moment and certainly raw. Jamie decided to plan a camping trip out by Mt. Rainier, I had to re-arrange my schedule, cancel a few things to make it happen. Saturday was hot yet we were in the car on our way to unknown, not book camped site. My "type A" part of me was going nuts, M said relax and go with the flow. Post McDonalds was not agreeing with me. As we approached Mt. Rainier, my cell phone service faded, back to this again, however my stomach was a bit uneasy. However the unknown was ok. We found a fantastic free campsite that I would of not found online, note there are two Buck Creeks in Washington! I'm finding peace again with nature. Hot dog on a stick, a little dirt won't hurt us and sleeping on the ground again, not so bad. I had help again, slept a bit in a daze (apparently I was sawing logs!). Highlights include lying under the stars on the airplane hanger strip listening to Neko/talking with M, playing in the river- breaking more fears/boundaries by climbing over the logs and putting my feet totally submergered in the cold river and of course seeing the MT wedding pics :) Finished my weekend at Casa de Sherita. I seriously miss that girl and she even convinced me to stay for dinner. Really was exactly what I needed. This is what summer is all about- outdoor movies, spending time with friends, enjoying the outdoors, impromptu bbqs and most of all having fun. I am living life to the fullest and loving it. I was able to spend the weekend with three of my favorite people who I don't see enough. Oh and finally saw Heathers Friday with some lovely ladies. Can't complain one bit about a great weekend :)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Coffee Drinks and Straws

These past weekend in Darrington when I ordered my latte, they automatically gave it to me with a straw. I have never been given a star automatically with my HOT coffee drink in Seattle. As M always says, there are two rules about small coffee stands in small towns- do not order a mocha or syrup (note they always have every flavor under the sun). I am adding a third rule, they always try to give you a straw for you hot drink. It has to be a suburbs thing. As I drink my Frappacino, and I hear that straw sound that is so annoyingly in every episode of Weeds a bazillion times, I swear suburban woman drink their coffee with straws. Mary Louise Parker obviously has a ice coffee addiction, but its almost as if they make a point of her and the straw. My suburban co-workers drink their hot coffee with straws and back when I worked with Puyallup school district, the career counselors, always used straws. Why? No one in Seattle does this, so what is it that makes the suburban population do this? Since when do you drink something HOT with a star? Seriously. Ok back to work.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

We've Not In Seattle Anymore Toto

As the drops of water entrenched my hair, the sweet smell of campfire was washed away. My invigorating shower after three full days of departure from my normal city routine represented my return to Seattle. Part of me wished I was still back in Darrington, however it was a wonderful weekend that as I showered, washing the creases in between my toes reminded me why I love the Northwest.

I was ready Thursday, to escape the city, a break from my normal routine. Yes, I desperately wanted to go camping. Thursday morning started with the "it's almost here" e-mail from N. Then the discussion of "rain" started, certain individuals didn't want to go, some of us were still ready to hit the road Thursday afternoon. About 50 e-mails later and 4pm, I was still at work in Seattle. More frustrated than I've been in a long time, ready to throw my work computer out the door, I wanted to be out in the woods away from technology and city life. Finally Michael convinced me to come up to Bellingham for the night, enjoy a glass of wine, relax and we'd leave for camping in the morning regardless. Finally around 1pm on Friday we were on the road. Cell phones without signal, no computers- just time to enjoy nature. We started to approach Darrington, we had contemplated McDonalds, but decided we wanted something local. Finally we hit Darrington city center, realizing what a small town it truly was, yes, we weren't in Seattle anymore. Settling on the local burger place, small town America was apparent, we had passed decaying barns and run down houses with cars parked on the lawn and now the people certainly were making an impression. Part of me was thinking where the hell am I, get me out now, but then part of me said, no, we are experiencing another part of life, yes different, but this is going to be an adventure.
Then we headed to the IGA (otherwise known as the IG-A later that weekend- note the gangster rape tone) to get food. While figuring out which sausage had the lowest fat content, we overheard someone say, "No Honey, We Always Have Mouse For Your Birthday," yes this was NOT Seattle. I soon became aware that I was too a piece of meat in the IGA, I had all my teeth, I'm relatively thin (believe me in comparison) and I had boobs that were not down to my stomach. Finally we were at the campsite with beer, smore makings and ready to get our camp on! Met up with others, meeting new people upon arrival, we all arrived at the same time. Shared a few beers after setting up camp. Decided it was time to hit the IGA again and have a beer at Skidders (yes, the bar was really named that). Others experienced the IGA in action, with more interesting sights to be seen. Then at Skidders there was the dog sitting at the bar, yes literally at the bar with his own water glass, children dining with their parents and the now infamous t-shirt. The bonding had begun. We continued drinking into the night, sharing stories over the campfire, although many of the pleasantries still existed. Started a game of Famous Canadians (name a famous Canadian). I crashed, a bit drunk and stoned. Next morning we woke up, I had actually slept well (I think I had some help), made breakfast, drank coffee, played some card games, then headed off for a hike to Frog Lake.

I was ready for the hike, yes, outside exercise. Had my new Chaco's on, ready to roll. Hike started off relatively easy, I thought, cool a steady relaxing hike. Then we realized the good part of the lake was below, there was a path, but no leading to where we could fish. The "boys" found a path via rock, I started to think, this might not turn out well, I'm not doing this. Luckily it was decided to find an alternate route. Well the alternate route meant walking down a somewhat steep grade off trail. Again, I was thinking, I don't think so harriet. Olivia was trying to find a different path, so I joined her, after battling the berry bushes and mossy squishy ground we realized no such luck. We had to try the other path. She went, then I decided to ride it down on my butt, it was the best way and I have plenty of cushion. Beer was down there in Michael's pack and I wanted my reward! Carefully teetering rock to rock I got to the shore. I had gone outside my comfort zone on my own. M and I had discussed the very same thing the night before, trying to move beyond our boundaries, taking risks on our own. Mission accomplished. I sat on the rocks, enjoyed my PBR and watched the men fish. Next was the "log raft," M and Brian were on it, asked who else wanted on. I thought what the hell, so what if I fall in. I got on, uh oh, its pretty wobbly. No, I can do this, I am trying something new- did kickball, its all about expanding my horizons and pushing myself. Brian was nice enough to hold my hand as I wobbled, trying to desperately find my balance, nope I'm not coordinated, but I really wanted to do this. Finally I got to an ok point, camera click and I was off the log. The boys then paddled the log across the lake. It was a big moment for several of us! Yes, we had a story and had another bonding experience. I climbed/crawled back up the ledge. I had done it. The adrenaline rushed through my system. This is what I needed and wanted. Hiked back to camp in the misty rain. Had a few beers and headed to our all to familiar and favorite IGA.

Our campfire consisted of drinking from our bladder (aka the box wine), naming famous Latin Americans, singing cheasy songs, nicknames emerged- O-Ring and L-Train were de-railed. Lots of laughter and overall good time. This is what camping is all about. Not caring if you have a hole in your pants on your butt, talking about "dropping the kids off" at the IGA and remembering that nature does exist. The weekend before was blissful at Lake Sammish, but this was different. The creek right next to our campsite, the scratches all over my leg from the berry bushes plowing our way through the woods and even the bug bites- this is is nature. I become wrapped up in my city life- happy hours, working out at the gym, e-mails, facebook, but honestly sometimes it becomes too much. It was nice to connect with others in a different setting. The pleasantries had faded. We were being real, sharing about ourselves, experiences, families and most of all enjoying the moment.

This morning we packed up, cleaned up camp all in anticipation of our final hurrah the the infamous Turkey House (and oh yeah, a real bathroom!). At the Turkey House, we read the paper, talked about life, had our final meal together amongst the old folk with of course delicious homemade pie. It wasn't Tom Douglas, but really an awesome meal, one that you appreciate after cooking over the fire for the past few days. Finally we parted ways. Driving back home into the city, I listened to my Garden State soundtrack, enjoying the time alone. Passed by the premium outlets. There's a part of me that loves all of those things, but a part of me was nourished this weekend that I often forget exists. The part that doesn't mind getting dirty, sleeping on the ground or running through the river. And that part wants to break more boundaries and find more adventures.