Tag Archives: Seattle

Seattle in pictures

 

Pistachios at Pike's Place Market

Pistachios at Pike's Place Market

 

Seafood counter at Pike Place Market

Seafood counter at Pike Place Market

 

Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market

 

The Crumpet Shop sign

The Crumpet Shop sign

 

The first Starbucks

The first Starbucks

Idio(t)syncrasies

A few weeks ago Susanne and I ventured to a large banking institution to open a joint checking and savings account. I mean, we are married, after all, I suppose it’s time we join our moneys — even though, ahem, I have no income to speak of at the moment. I haven’t gotten desperate enough yet to start selling brownies and Shrinky-Dinks in front of the house, even though that pulled in a nice $2.85 for me weekly in the late 70s. I spent a lot of time making those Shrinky-Dinks, thank you very much, mostly traced from SuperMag and Scooby-Doo comics. There were also the little “shell people” I would craft after visits to the Jersey Shore, with googely eyes crazy glued to the tops to give them that little extra something. Those were my seasonal wares and were always gone by late September, so you had to get there quickly before they were snatched up, pipe cleaners and all.

So in the Bank of [insert country name here] we set up our accounts, and then had the banal joy of selecting debit card designs from a wonderful panoply of choices that would really say something about us as individuals. Oh, the variety was stunning — any particular baseball team we wanted, a full spectrum of national not-for-profit causes and organizations, scenic vistas of various regions across the country, the list was just endless, really. I imagine it would be akin to a Soviet-era Russian standing in the middle of Wegmans trying to select just one kind of potato chip. It blew our minds, really.

There were those that we could rule out quickly — nothing anti-choice or overly religious. Nothing with an animated character, lest German businesspeople scoff at us like they do in that American Express commercial (talk about advertising by snobbery!). Nothing falsely or extremely patriotic — because also, I am not one for breaking the Flag Code of the United States. The flag is the flag, and it’s not supposed to be represented except as a flag, for the love of Pete. And if you don’t believe me, here is the text from the U.S. Code:

 

§176. Respect for flag

No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America; the flag should not be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, State flags, and organization or institutional flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor.

  • (a) The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.
  • (b) The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.
  • (c) The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.
  • (d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free. Bunting of blue, white, and red, always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker’s desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general.
  • (e) The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.
  • (f) The flag should never be used as a covering for a ceiling.
  • (g) The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.
  • (h) The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
  • (i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.
  • (j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.
  • The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.

 

Who’s patriotic now, huh? Okay, back to the story.
If all of our choices had been equal, I suppose we would have picked some innocuous card face, though we did intend all along to get something different so that we could easily identify the joint account cards from our individual account cards. The bank employee working with us pointed out that the Washington State University cards would give us 15% matching on our “Save the Change” program, and that tipped the balance for us. We ordered the WSU cards, which smartly bear the university’s logo, which is this:
Cougars logo

Cougars logo

Cute, right? I mean, sort of. How logo-y of it to use the letters from the institution to form the cougar, its mascot. Now for those of you unfamiliar with the situation, as I recently counted myself among all of you, there is this big big rivalry between the University of Washington alums and fans and those of the WSU set. University of Washington, or “U-Dub,” as they call themselves, are mostly western Washingtonians, and WSU folks are mostly easterners. If you’ve been following this blog closely (and don’t lie, I see my readership falling off in the last week, so you can’t fool me), you’ll remember that I’ve mentioned an east-side, west-side rift before. Seeing the Cougars logo apparently causes great happiness here in Walla Walla, because every fricking time I’ve pulled out the card over here, the person delivering our service exclaims, “Cougars!” At lunch last week at this little Internet cafe/diner (no really, it’s an Internet cafe and diner), the owner saw the card and clapped me on the shoulder, saying, “Everett, I didn’t know you were a Cougar! I learn something new about you every week!”
Oh buddy, if only you knew. If only. Cougar is the least of my surprises!
I didn’t have the heart to tell him it was just for a 15% match for three months from our craptastic bank. Well, I say craptastic, but at the rate the bank system is going, it will be the last one standing, and then it’ll be like that bad movie that had Sly Stallone in it where all the restaurants were gone except for Taco Bell and the 7-layer burrito and Chilito are the only things anyone eats anymore. It’ll be just like that.
I figured I didn’t want to destroy his happiness at seeing another Cougar in his midst. Besides, he’d walked away to go ring me up. But now it’s like a running joke — my days, rather on the boring side, punctuated by brief moments of exuberant “Cougars!” among my neighbors and people in this side of the state.
During our trip to Seattle last weekend, it was a different story, however, since that’s the west side of the state. I begged forgiveness when using it to pay for things, I pleaded ignorance of their long struggle against the truly inept and ignorant easterners who blithely voted against them in every election. They looked down their noses at me or sighed or said “it’s okay,” in that bored Seattle way that signals that it’s really not okay, take your awful Cougars card and get the hell out of our pretty store that sells Spanish haute cuisine preparation materials. Perhaps I should blame it on the rain — they get so much rain there it’s bound to curb your enthusiasm at some point.
It’s weird to be situated in the east, in the conservative part of the state, and have people be so instantaneously overjoyed by a slim piece of plastic, and attach their newfound happiness to me, just because I’m wielding it. I’m probably more of a Seattle kind of person than I am a Walla Walla person, long rows of vineyard or not, but to them I’m one of their kind because this is where I live now and this is the damn debit card I’m holding, and look how cute it is that I’m assimilating. Very weird. And in its own way, sweet.
Hydrangeas in Seattle

Hydrangeas in Seattle

The break in the clouds happens at the mountains

Last day in Seattle included a run to the tourist section of Pike Place to get some Dilettante chocolates. Oh, they are so good, even if the service there is a tad worse than spotty. Go ahead and serve them with a frown, I’ll be a truffle-eating monster later. Plus, one Seattle kid being semi-hostile is still nothing like the open disdain and service of frustration one receives in most of DC, so these folks don’t actually impress me at this point. I’m sure I’ll reset my service parameters at some point and then the trips to the big cities out here will leave me shocked and confused. But for now I shrug them off. I shrug you off, mean chocolate lady!

We stopped in at Lush right after, which was amusing for the fact that another staffer at Dilettante was in there complaining to the Lush staff that Chris Rock had come in for a mocha and decried the bad service there and stormed out.

See? It’s not just me. Even CELEBRITIES suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous service there.

Lunch was nice, consisting of a big bowl of brown rice and spiced lamb.

 

Bowl-a-Rama lunch

Bowl-a-Rama lunch

Tasty, and $7.50 to boot. DC could use more little shops like that. So could Walla Walla, for that matter.

We passed by Barneys which had the oddest little window display I’ve ever seen. Feel free to offer opinions and analysis on this:

 

The train is coming at Barneys

The train is coming at Barneys

Okay, what is up with this? Also notice the tormentor — a woman with a villain mustache. So beware the transgender person? Or, we had to mark her as the evil one in this picture because the guy tied to the train tracks with the oncoming engine wasn’t enough to clue us in?

And why is there a pump bottle of soap on her head? 

Barney, Barney, Barney, you’ve gone a bit off the rails yourself, haven’t you? Must be that constant comparison to the annoying purple dinosaur.

We went out for dinner later at Ray’s Boathouse in a completely different corner of the city, and the fish was truly amazing. I ate my weight in mussels for the first course, which were drenched in a spicy tomatoesque bisque, and had a sweet fillet of sablefish atop grilled baby bok choy and delicate rice. Oh, eating quality seafare is so nice, even if it means Susanne has to miss the fun. But I’ll keep it to a minimum, since I do enjoy my dining partner more than what I’m eating.

A quiet evening when we got back, I got up in the morning and chatted with my friend who was hosting me for this trip, and said goodbye to her adorable feline. Found Susanne at what seems quite a patchwork of an airport, and we headed back to Walla Walla. As sure enough, we left the clouds behind as we passed through the Cascades again. Note to Washington State Transportation — your road sure is pretty, but can’t you make it quieter? I’m getting hearing loss making this 290-mile trip!

 

Kiwi the Cat

Kiwi the Cat

World capitol of rain and clouds

Ah, Seattle. When first I spied you in the summer of 2005, you gave me day upon day of warm sunshine, making it seem as though your tendency toward rain was all myth and bunk. It was a wonderful romance we had, and I’ll never forget it.

Sunny Seattle

Sunny Seattle

Yet like so many flings begun without thought for the long-term, we soured, and this time, you’re grouchy, distant, mad about something you won’t communicate. And you rain, rain, rain, barely getting into the high 70s, so that I feel your chill down to my bones. Where did we go wrong, Seattle? How could I have offended you so much that you feel this is your choice, to be so unforgiving? I wanted to live in your confines; your state gave me the other corner instead. I’m doing the best I can, honoring your lakes and your downtown, reveling in your curvy streets and dynamic nightlife. I’ve attempted to support your economy as a faithful visitor, and if you’re a little nicer to me I promise I shall return many times. Unless that’s not what you want.

View from Lake Washington

View from Lake Washington

Don’t push me out, Seattle. Let’s try to start over.

It’s been great, weather notwithstanding, to be back here, visiting an old friend from graduate school, and making little forays into the city. My bad knee is definitely hampering me too much, but I’m doing what I can and I certainly look forward to the day when I can run around a city again, sniffing out the fun offerings and things to see. 

Susanne is out on the other coast at a conference and we’ll rendezvous tomorrow at the airport before heading back to Wallyworld for its annual Fair and Frontier Days. Insert picture of Susanne sneezing at all of the livestock, and heck, maybe we’ll head out of town again and do some exploring at a few of the local apple and pear vineyards. I sure would love to bake a fruit pie and try to make the kitchen feel more like home.

Getting from these separate corners of the state — and there’s a whole lot of nothing in parts of the middle, for sure — is mostly achieved via one mountain pass, which shuts down frequently in winter. It’s not exactly reassuring to see “Chain Tie-On Area” signs and “Grade 5% next 2 miles.” The road in summer seems straightforward enough, though I wouldn’t chance it without brakes you’re sure will work well. And it’s a great view, though I don’t think that’s Mount Rainier we can see off to the west, but some other less tall peak. I need to research that.

I wandered around town yesterday, amused that there’s a neighborhood here called Capitol Hill. They’re very proud of their neighborhood name, and it must have some cache, because you see it everywhere.

 

Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's

Later I drove down to the Pike Place Market, looking for some fun window shopping, but primarily looking for a parking spot under $10. It was not to be found in the walking distance I can currently handle. And I’m sad to say that Dilettante Chocolates has closed its Capitol Hill location, but only temporarily as it opens a new shop down the street next month. Still, I need to procure some on this trip, so I’ll venture out to the one downtown later today. 

In the afternoon I met up with my friend and we shared a bit of ethiopian take out at park on Lake Washington. In the east nobody would be out in the water in weather like this — we love our warm Atlantic, even if it does produce awful hurricanes and tropical storms. The Pacific just never seems to heat up over here. But hey, native Seattle-ites will run down the feet-slicing rocky shores, climb up onto a floating dock, and springboard off into the icy water, loving every minute of it. I look on in horror and amazement. And once again feel like I’ve ventured into some foreign country over here. Everyone is so used to needing their black leather jackets and faded jeans they don’t actually change into something else when the temperature is 95F. They just go about their business sweating their asses off, and man, it has got to produce some funky leather smells after a while. So perhaps a dip in the frigid lake works for them after that, who knows. But the water looked pretty, and I really like it when busy cities have their leisurely parts. And Seattle seems to have plenty.

 

Two boys with Pith helmets

Two boys with Pith helmets

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