Monday, March 26, 2007

Sweetness In Seattle

I was born in one city, raised in three more, educated in at least three, and upon my college years, arrived in Seattle for a sweet 15 years of college, friends, jobs, and overall I would say some of the best years of my life. For my 40th birthday, my Mom, sister, and sisters-in-law flew me out to Seattle to celebrate with a "Girls' Weekend", and what it was was one of the most wonderful weekends I've ever had.

To say it was "touching" would be an understatement. It was full of surprises, and just to see how many people love me that much -- to make a weekend of fun for me, feeding me at all my favorite restaurants, and following me all over as I drove and stopped and drove and stopped to see something else -- it was just plain perfect.
The BIG surprise was was that my friend Deb McCormick from high school, and my friend Teri from my old Seattle Times days (she now lives in Utah), flew in to join us girls for the weekend. My sister-in-law Stephanie said when I saw them and shrieked, that she'd honestly never seen me so shocked and surprised in my life. While I'm not unflappable, I'm also pretty gullible -- like when someone tells me it's just us family girls for the weekend -- I actually believed my lying sister!
After the screaming, crying, hugging and laughing at the Starbucks near the hotel -- a clamor that made the hotel security guy from the Grand Hyatt come over to "make sure everything was ok" -- we headed down to the Pike Place Market a few blocks away. From Left to Right is my posse: Stephanie, Jill, Mom, Teri, Judy & Debbie)

It's Springtime in Seattle, which translates into rain & tulips! The market was GORGEOUS with so many flower vendors, it looked like they had completely taken over. I took in the sights & sounds, the smells and the odd feeling of being a tourist in my own home town. I'd have that feeling a lot this weekend!
Then it was time to go to lunch at my FAVORITE RESTAURANT EVER: THAI HEAVEN. My three best friends from my years at the University of Washington came to meet Teri, Deb & I for lunch. It amazes me how neat it is to hook up with old friends -- you know them so well -- and yet our lives keep moving forward and we spend a nice long leisurely lunch catching up. That, and the Paradise Chicken, it's by far the best way one could spend an afternoon. From Left to Right -- Shan Pie, Jules Pie, Jess Pie, and Kim Pie. Yes, that's an old college thing. We still haven't dropped it.
A little time hanging out downtown, and it was time to head to dinner! We made reservations at Arnies on Northshore. Or at least we thought we did! The downside of being gone so long is you don't realize your favorite restaurant may have closed! Arnies, just above Gasworks Park in Seattle, is no more. But my sister did, by mistake, make reservations at the Arnies up in Edmonds.

Well, of course that wouldn't do. We came to the city, not to eat in the 'burbs. Not tonight anyway. My other choice (and I'll never call it my second) was to call Salty's on Alki Beach in West Seattle. Thankfully, the kind folks at Salty's had room for us. This photo is one of the views of downtown from Salty's. Stunning, perfect, and one that kept drawing comments all night as we cornered a perfect table with a view of the water, my beloved Space Needle, and ferries coming and going.
The seven of us first had appetizers and drinks in the bar, then we moved to our lovely table, where I ordered Alaskan King crab for dinner. A full pound of crab -- and it was only TWO pieces (check out my plate!). The legs were so big, I swore they killed THE King Crab, not just "A King Crab." Now, there's good eatin'
It took a million tries, and I know this isn't the best photo ever, but I took my new camera out onto Salty's deck, in the wind and rain with no tripod, somewhere between dinner and dessert to get this photo. I took a lot, and I'm still not through them all, but this gives you an idea of the view.
The next morning, after saying goodbye to Teri & Deb, the family headed up to Anthony's Homeport on Shilshole Bay in Ballard for brunch! My little brother Jeremy (pictured here) took the train all the way down from Bellingham to have breakfast with us, my brother-in-law John brought my nephews John M. & Erik, and my niece Miriam up from Gig Harbor, AND
My in-laws (Bev & Armin) came down from Mount Vernon to have brunch with all of us too! In all, 12 of us at a classic P-M get-together with lots of talking, eating and laughing. Someone at a table near us said how we were "obviously a very happy family". Amen to that!

The rest of the afternoon I spent with my sister, her family, and Jeremy & Stephanie, as we wandered through some bad art downtown, over to The Seattle Center for lunch, and one last peek through the trees at my beloved Space Needle.

Thanks guys. I've never felt so special, and enjoyed so much time with so many beloved friends and family. I love you all.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Something Grand For My 40th

I had more than one birthday celebration, but I'm just out of the car on this one, and needed to share this GREAT picture a German couple took of Brian and me at the Grand Canyon Friday morning.

Brian had never been before this trip. My favorite thing was to hear him say "Wow," several times, out of the blue, as he pondered the beautiful GRAND Canyon's size.
The last time I was at the Grand Canyon was for my 30th birthday -- I was newly divorced, and spent much of my time in a Flagstaff hotel, holed up with a typewriter and writing whatever came into my head. As another 10 years had passed, and I remembered where I'd been for my 30th, it felt like a trip back to the scene of one of Nature's masterpieces was absolutely necessary.

And I can say it was perfect.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

We're Walking, We're Walking...

Nothing lights my dog up like knowing she's going "go". This morning, I got up fairly early and ran some errands, and all I have to say is "Does Lucy want to GO?" and she lights up like a Christmas tree.

After we got back, I decided we should go to the dog park. The leash doesn't have to come out. Lucy recognizes my SHOES. THAT pair of Nikes come out, and she's buggy knowing she's on her way to her Happy Place.

My Lucy was found in the back of a K-Mart when she was just a few weeks old, in a town called Yakima, Washington. Brian and I were living there when our house was broken into, and I told the landlady that I wanted to get a dog to help protect the house.

She ok'd it, and I gave her an extra $100 deposit for whatever damage a puppy could do, and off to the Humane Society we went.

My dog was pretty much front and center as we entered the pound where the dogs were kept. She was the ONLY dog that wasn't barking her head off. Then she put her paw up to the cage as I talked to her, and well, that was it. That was 7 years ago now.

She barks when people come on the property, and she's protective, but she's a very good girl. She loves little kids, and little kids love her. My favorite thing on a walk is when a kid runs to Lucy saying "DOGGIE!" and I stop Lucy, have her sit, and let the kid pet her. She's happy. The kid's happy. I'm happy.

This past year I've noticed that she's getting to be middle aged -- slowing down a bit, and as I pet her and stare into her eyes, I realize she won't be with us forever, and that's why I need to appreciate her more than I have, and take her for more walks.

Lucy, I'm sure, thinks that's a TERRIFIC idea.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Random Thoughts on a Sunny Sunday

What's for breakfast:

Brian's cooking me some sausage, eggs and hashbrowns. I love a good breakfast burrito with that stuff in it. I can't eat like that all week, but weekend breakfasts are indulgent and yummy!

Shortest Weather Report Ever:

It's sunny outside, and we expect to get up to the 60s this week. I think I heard a "whew, I think we made it" out of most Coloradans.

But unfortunately, the bulk of the snow we usually get is in March and April. I hope not March, only because the next few weeks are going to involve some travel.

Plans for my birthday!:

March 15, I'm flying to Seattle a week ahead of my 40th birthday for a girls' weekend with my Mom, sister and sisters in law.

March 21, Brian and I are driving to the Grand Canyon and Phoenix for a long weekend.

Hold weather, hold.

Movie watched:

I watched the movie "Infamous", about Truman Capote and his research for the book In Cold Blood, both of which I adored (the book & this movie). There were a number of smart lines in it, but one came from a Kansas farmer, expressing his fears about how no matter how good you are, bad things happen.

It was short, but the man spoke of Mr. Clutter, the father of the murdered family, and what a good man he was. How doing good things anchor you to the earth, and how Mr. Clutter had done so much. "But," the man said, "a wind -- whether it's the cancer, and accident or just something evil like this -- can blow and lift you up so much as a leaf. You're in control until you're not anymore. Then you're not." I just thought it was genius writing, and all too true.

This is NOT the version with well-known actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman, but Daniel Craig plays Perry, one of the killers, and a good ensemble cast with Sandra Bullock, Sigourney Weaver, and a number of other famous actors play various roles.

We just got Little Miss Sunshine and I can't wait to watch it.

Hair Update:

I took the liberty of calling up James, who happened to answer the phone at Regis hair salon last Sunday, and had him fix my dreadful Dorothy Hamill Haircut before another week was spent in public with it, and before any pictures could be taken.

Thank you, James.


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