Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Seattle 2009

As promised I'm going to share a bit about my vacation to Seattle. I think I'll do this mostly in pictures because A. I'm kind of in a hurry (it's time to get back into serious writing mode. have to write a new book. scary times) and B. Seattle is always a weirdly personal experience that is hard to put into words. It took me a couple months to write an essay about my first trip there. It's just my place. I don't know how to explain it better than that. I've always been a girl who doesn't really feel like she fits comfortably anywhere. It's gotten better since high school, those teenage feelings of not really being cool enough even to hang with the "outcast" kids are gone. I find myself drawn toward places like the Beacon, the bar I work at, that attract people from all walks of life and feel much more comfortable there then when I go to hipster places. That's actually one of the major reasons I live in Forest Park, not in Chicago, but I'm getting off topic...

Seattle has always felt friendly and accepting basically ever since I stepped on to the bus from the airport and a few different people offered my friends and me directions and other advice. That just doesn't happen in Chicago. We try to avoid eye contact with everyone else on public transit. I make new friends every time I go to Seattle. Some are fellow travellers, but I've met locals too, like this guy Ralph whose band I saw the very first night I was in Seattle in 2004 and we're still in touch.

But it isn't just the feeling accepted factor, the air, the smells, the greeness, the water, water, water those are the things that make Seattle feel like the perfect place for me. And this whole thing about it being gloomy? Well, I love the rain. I'd rather that kind of dreary over this cold, pale gray/whitish gloom that is Chicago winter. That is what gets me depressed. And a sunny day in Seattle is like the most perfect day on earth. Coincidentally, every day but the day we left was sunny and gorgeous (like nearing 70 when it was in the 30s and snowing at home).

It was a much needed vacation. Before I left, I was experiencing burning pains in my stomach. At first I thought I'd eaten something bad. Then I realized, oh yeah, I had these pains in high school.... my ulcer is back. I've been pushing myself way too hard, stressing about everything. The trip to Seattle couldn't have come at a better time. Here is how I spent it.

Day One, Friday April 3

My friend Jenny (left) and I arrive from Chicago. Eryn won't arrive from Denver til 10 and Lynn from Ireland via Florida won't arrive til midnight.

We have dinner at a fabulous vegan Asian place in Capitol Hill and meet one of my best friends from high school, Polly, for a drink. Polly's pregnant though, so she's not drinking. She asks for a Sprite and gets served a whole pitcher of it!
Day Two, Saturday April 4

We meet up with friend and one of my fave music writers, Charles Cross, at vegan pizza place, Pizza Pi (soooo good!) in the U-District. L to R: Lynn, Jenny, Eryn, Charley, me.

Next off to Golden Gardens beach/park. If I could, I would get married here. Despite the impossibly huge set of stairs you have to climb to get back to the bus stop (last pic is view from the top of the stairs)....

We end the night (or at least Jenny and I do. Eryn and Lynn have another chaotic adventure) with drinks and a band at the Central. The band was like a combo of Alice in Chains and Soundgarden and I wish I could have captured a good shot of the singer headbanging...
Day Three, Sunday April 5

This of course is the 15th anniversary of Kurt Cobain's suicide so we went to Viretta Park to remember him. The 10 year anniversary was huge. 15 years was basically us and a guy we met from Scotland who played guitar. He came on our shopping adventures in Capitol Hill (bought a cool hoodie at a craft fair. Spent too much $ but it's one of a kind!) and returned with us to the park at night where we sang songs and lit candles. It wasn't a sad, mournful thing. It was more of a celebratory thing, which Lynn said is the best way to remember someone who has passed and I happen to agree.

Jade joined us from NYC that day (a snowstorm delayed her travel by a day). L to R Eryn, Lynn, Jade, Jenny:

Oh and this slightly strange guy, Bo, gave us glowsticks at the park. Here Eryn and Jade use them to anoint the bus. Yeah, we're silly. Vacation silliness is important.
Day Four, Monday April 6

We traveled to Aberdeen, the place where Kurt and Krist grew up and Nirvana was formed. (Yes, this is Nirvana geek out part 2). Aberdeen was not so big on Kurt/Nirvana for awhile but now they have a nice little park by the bridge that Kurt claims to have lived under which inspired the song "Something In The Way." I love sitting under the bridge. And we started taking cool rock band style photos. We named our band The Only Source of Light because we only had one lighter among us for a while and Jade would always ask, "Can I have the only source of light?" when she needed it to light her cigarette (at least I think Jade started that. In my memory she did.) Gotta love vacationing with the girls, it's like the fun bits of high school all over again with all the inside jokes.
(The lyrics on the Something in the Way sign are a bit off... Apparently the fish "haven't any feelings" although Kurt definitely sings it "Don't have any feelings.")

The Only Source of Light rocks man!
I play at falling into the Wishkah River...

And my favorite part about going to Aberdeen besides visiting the bridge was the drive. It's two hours through pine trees and mountains and other wonderful goodness into the Olympic Peninsula (thats Forks country for you Twilight fans. Forks is not too far from Aberdeen) and it was an unusually clear day so I got to attempt to snap pictures of Mount Rainer. Which I really must visit one of these times to Washington.
The evening of the 6th ended at one of my favorite vegan restaurants (notice a theme here. I tend to drag people to all the vegan restaurants in Seattle when I'm there. Fortunately Jenny and Jade are vegetarian, Lynn eats vegetarian a lot and Eryn's a trooper.) Bamboo Garden which has these fake chicken products that are basically balls.... Lots of jokes are made about, "Can I try your balls? Would you like to eat my balls?" Yes, totally juvenile, but fun. Our friend Geoff's boyfriend Ray came along (sadly Geoff wasn't in town). He's so much fun. I really hope Ray and Geoff move to Chicago (HINT HINT if you guys are reading this!)

Day Five, Tuesday April 7

In the morning, Eryn and I went to the place were Mia Zapata of the Gits was found murdered to leave her yellow roses as a tribute. Yeah, Eryn and I are the queens of morbid rock star tributes, but Mia was a goddess and what happened to her was one of the biggest atrocities. It was nice to show our respects in some way.

Then I headed off to hang out with my friend Polly and her adorable daughter Unity. Little kid cuteness ahead!

That kid (and her parents of course) is one of the top reasons on my "Why We Should Move To Seattle" List. Also note Unity's smoothie mustache in the first photo, from yet another fine vegan restaurant that Polly introduced me too. I think Seattle is vegan paradise.

Day Six, Wednesday April 8

We roamed Fremont and Ballard, two really fun neighborhoods in Seattle. There was more shopping. I spent way too much, but vintage dresses are my weakness along with locally designed shirts and hoodies. Sigh. And there were lots of photo opportunities for The Only Source of Light in Gas Works Park and Ballard Locks/Botanical Garden.

Here's our America's Next Top Model photo shoot:
Lynn and Eryn shining my sneakers:
I am disconcerted by these mussel shells. Who left them here?
Lynn and Eryn find the restroom at Ballard Locks:

And we ended our last night on vacation the way all last nights on vacation should be ended by jumping on the bed. Eryn and I are wearing matching long underwear. Hott!

Day 7, Thursday April 9

We only had a couple hours in the morning before we had to head to the airport so we visited the waterfront one last time and I went to my place where I like to sit and think and meditate. My calm and peaceful place if you will. I took a photo and a video to remember it by, though I don't know if the video will play right and it is choppy because I suck at taking video.

Here's me and Eryn making our sad faces at the airport.
Fortunately Jenny and I got to fly to Denver with Eryn before heading home to Chicago, so here we are on our plane:

I was happy to see my boy and my kitties when I got home, but Chicago always feels so flat and gray (I know that's odd...) and ugly compared to Seattle. I really do hope we can move out there when in a couple years when Scott finishes school and we're in better financial shape. We shall see. To comfort myself on Friday, I watched Singles, which I blogged about over at Teen Fiction Cafe.

Now it's back to the grind.... which I'm a bit behind on because I forgot how time consuming photo blogs can be. Oh well, hope you enjoyed it!


Paradox said...

This really encapsulates the awesomeness of our vacation :) Thanks for sharing!!

xxxx Jade

Heather said...

Sounds like you had an incredible time! :)