…that caught my eye around Seattle these past days.



Have you spied anything recently that  made you pause and sigh/think/chuckle?

Seattle’s Best

To some degree, my entire summer has been living out a big ole list of pros & cons. I’ve been feeling things out, settling into a slower pace, shifting into a different space, both physically and mentally.

My friends and family know this is how I operate, often moving in slow-mo baby steps. They are being so patient. For that, I am very grateful. I welcome their feedback and cheerleading, but ultimately I know I must listen to what’s within.

While it’s fresh in my mind, here are some things I really enjoy about Seattle. Some of this I knew already, much I’ve figured out during my extended stay. (Of course there are a few “cons” to weigh in too, but I will focus on the positives for now. And there are many.)

Seattle’s Best (for starters):

~People here are friendly. Strangers often say ‘hi;’ folks seem generally mellow and good-natured. (Cynical me, sometimes I initially wonder what strangers are after when they strike up banter at unexpected times…Then I’m ashamed when I realize they’re just being nice!)

~Proximity to nature and simply stunning sites (sea, mountains, you name it).

~There is glorious water everywhere (and more importantly access to water). These people really take advantage of their incredible surroundings, especially when the potent sun finally scares away the gray.

~I love eating on the water. I love sitting by the water. I love wandering along house boat communities, dreaming of the day I might live in one a la “Sleepless in Seattle.” (I remember my brother being in awe of these floating homes when he first arrived here. Now I get it.)

~I’ll say it again (though it’s a given), these guys:

~Ambiance. This town’s got that mastered. Bars, restaurants, coffee shops–each has such a unique and cozy feel. D.C., take note.

(Bastille in Ballard)

(Bimbo’s Cantina in Capitol Hill)

(Smith on 15th)

~Coffee culture. If you crave  java at any time of day, you will never sip solo. Cafes are always filled–with freelancers, contractors, students, drifters, who knows. It’s nice to never feel alone. (This seems key when considering the freelancing way of life.)

~Music, music, everywhere music.

~The chance to reunite with some amazing people I’ve lived far away from for way too long. My reunion with Alli P (a dear college amiga) this past weekend was so, so incredible. It had been a decade, yet we reconnected as if it’d not even been a week.

~People who seem to care. About the earth, about other people, about healthy lifestyles for themselves.

~Touristy landmarks that live up to the hype.

~Characters that range from stereotypical flannel ‘n’ grunge rockers and dorky techies to avid adventure athletes and 9-t0-5 preps. There are some kooks; there are some relatively “normal” Americans like you and me. I haven’t quite figured out the Seattle scene, but from what I can tell, this city welcomes an eccentric mix. Regardless, things are always colorful around these parts.

It’s been a really great month.

The whole sky

Even after all this time
The sun never says to the earth,
“You owe me.”
Look what happens with
A love like that,
It lights the whole sky.

Holy hills

Why is it never publicized to us East Coast folks that Seattle is one heck of a hilly town?? This baffles me. San Francisco, sure. But Seattle too? Before I arrived here a few years back, I had no idea. This place will give your legs a run for their money. (And this photo doesn’t even begin to do it justice.)

I’ve had a grand time exploring, but some days, these hills have had my dogs barking (as my amiga M would say).

Sometimes Seattlites like to create (or enhance) their own hills too, it turns out.

I love this mountain biking training area behind my brother’s house.

Seattle, like Rome, was built on seven hills. This is one of the many new facts I’ve learned in my past month+ out here. It feels good to learn/read/explore again. Things were getting a wee bit dusty up there.

Expect the unexpected

It’s been one of those weeks where the Universe reminds us that we, in fact, are not in charge. Life often has other plans; things very rarely turn out the way we think they will/should.

(Speaking of, I love this post.)

Perhaps because of the aggravating pressure in my head or the eerie tales of an earthquake that rocked the east coast (with a hurricane en route. Sheesh. Be safe, y’all!), I’ve been feeling a bit off-kilter. Earlier this week, I wasn’t sleeping so hot, and, for the first time, I felt a bit homesick. I’ve had colorful and disturbing dreams.

I have mixed feelings about already flying home next week. August has absolutely flown. Soon, it’ll be time to make some more (bigger) decisions. Decisions are not my forte, have I mentioned that yet? (I am trying to just breathe and remain in the moment. The eternal goal, eh?)

In the meantime…the brilliant Seattle sun (they’re not kidding when they talk about these Pacific NW summers!) and my awesome roomies still managed to make this week pretty darn great.

The week’s unexpected events:

~I spent my Tuesday afternoon in this thrilling urgent care waiting room (just getting an Rx for a sinus infection, my usual, no big whoop).

~I befriended two welcoming PR chicas over lunch (thanks to a PR connection in D.C.) and then wandered down to the water, where I watched some totem pole carving.

~I stumbled upon this cloud blanket that simply took my breath away.

~I tried to clear the bejeezus out of my head with some reallllly spicy jambalaya, N’awlins-style.

~We watched the sun set over the Space Needle and the Olympics, majestic Mount Rainier glowing in the distance.

~My brother and I wandered around this kooky store that’s a bit of a Seattle institution…

and sells blasts-from-the-past like these.

~I checked this unexpected choice off my Seattle “bucket list.” LOVED it:)

~I dined alfresco (not exactly unexpected these days, but still delightful).

~After dinner, we hopped in the car and took a spontaneous trip to Capitol Hill. There I ate pie out of a jar. Who knew? Y-U-M. 

We sat outside and relished the delicious night air, whisking me back to carefree Baskin Robbins runs of yesteryear that made Northern Virginia summer evenings as a child just perfect.

~I drank coffee, I did a wee bit of freelancing, I went for lakeside walks and runs and I caught up with friends and friends-of-friends in chowder houses, on pub patios and on the lush lawn under the towering Space Needle.

When I list it out like this, there was (and remains) a LOT to be grateful for.

I am thinking of everyone out east battening down the hatches, hoping that Mother Nature chooses to be kind. It seems we are expecting the worst, so here’s hoping we are pleasantly surprised.

Signs, signs, everywhere signs

From time to time I have those panicky, fleeting thoughts:

Someone please remind me again why I would possibly choose to leave the familiar comfort of home and everyone and everything I already know and love??

Then I spy signs like these…

And I am reminded

Another gem from mom:)…

‘There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse; as I have found in traveling in a stage-coach, that it is often a comfort to shift one’s position and be bruised in a new place.’~Washington Irving

What’s your sign?

I recently found these pages my mom had Xeroxed for me out of a horoscope book  a few years back.

Yep! It’s official.

Still a Pisces, through and through.

More water, please:)

Was ist das?

Did you know there’s a wee slice of Bavaria in the mountains of Central Washington? Me neither…but that’s what I learned this weekend!

It was a fun (if surreal) experience. We ate schnitzel, tasted wine, drank Munchen lager, baked in a hoppin’ biergarten (thank goodness for the cooling misters), wandered some kooky shops, pet a friendly goat and winded our way home through some slightly alarming forest fires (intentional, we hope?).


I am loving all the time I get to spend with my brother:)

Good eats in Leavenworth!

My gracious, wonderful roomies/tour guides. I am most grateful for them.

Beautiful, eerie & frightening, all at once…

Did your weekend bring about anything unexpected or new? In any case, hope y’all had great ones!

Trust the hours

I was feeling really anxious Wednesday morning. Thinking again about not knowing where I’m headed, wondering… What happens if I just don’t have the steam (the self-motivation) to get there?

I knew it was a day where I needed to get out of my own head quickly, to get moving, to step out into the day. Over breakfast, I read a few blogs that provide daily words of wisdom. I called my mom; I emailed one of my most supportive friends. I emerged into the morning sunlight and trolleyed into Seattle proper to get lost in the country tunes of a free lunchtime concert.

Once downtown I chugged a sweet Coke and devoured an even sweeter peach, the juice careening down my calf. I inhaled the fried eggroll aroma wafting from the nearby Asian eatery into the perfectly manicured plaza. I settled into the tiered benches among a crew of crosswording retired folks, chatty youngsters, grandparent chaperones and sunbathing worker bees on break.

The band begins. I close my eyes and sway along with their slow beats and her hypnotic twang. I am transported back to a dark Austin bar, where I sit at a sticky table with some of my dearest friends in the world. The sun streams in through a propped-open back door, bathing the wood-panelled walls and the old-as-the-hills musicians. A two-steppin’ Texan couple plops down their $2 drafts to get lost in the beats and each other, claiming the moment as their own.


I check my phone: An editor friend has just emailed an awesome assignment. A wee pink-polka-dotted tot hoists herself onto the step next to me, trustingly using my thigh, the leg of a perfect stranger, for support. The Ballard singer, who rocks a country chic wardrobe and croons with a steady, melodic voice, manages to make even corny lyrics sound rather convincing…”If I can’t trust you with a quarter, how can I trust you with my heart?”


It’s all going to work out. I know this. Sometimes I just forget to trust.

“But trust the hours. Haven’t they
carried you everywhere, up to now?”

~Galway Kinnell

Head in the clouds

I spent much of my time in Colorado staring at the clouds. I was mesmerized.

I. just. couldn’t. stop.

Not since my months in Scotland had I been so taken by such expansive skies.

That deep Colorado blue, that crisp, thin air, those soothing rays that warm you to the core. (No wonder no one I spoke to there had a bad thing to say about their home state.)

I returned to my snap-happy roots under those glorious Colorado skies:

Cartoonish cotton balls @ the Flatirons

A dreamy Boulder sunset

Meghann’s sky(e)-high apartment building

Dancing flags and streaky wisps at the Blues & Brews street fest

I also got lost in my own head a bit in Colorado (we’ll blame it on the altitude), at times letting my mind wander to places past and present, spaces not all that productive. Leaving Colorado on Sunday, I had to take three wee flights to get me back up north. My flight into Eugene, Oregon, provided some of the most breathtaking aerial views I’ve ever seen. Up there in the clouds, I was able to process and truly appreciate my time in Denver way above the patchwork Earth,  breathing in the grandeur of the snowy peaks below.

Now I’m back in Seattle, sliding back into the groove of the Pacific NW swing of things. The skies here are quite different–moodier, yet calming. Pretty spectacular in their own right.

Where do you most enjoy gazing skyward? Where have you seen your most memorable sunrises/sunsets? Where does your head get lost in the clouds?

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